In 1907, Chicago was not only a bustling industrial and commercial center, it was a place where architects were establishing the city's reputation for innovation and modernism and where residents were opening their eyes to what other cultures had to offer. The Columbian Exposition of 1893 introduced Chicagoans to the art and architecture of England, Germany and Japan.
The Arts & Crafts movement, popular in both Europe and the U.S., was taking hold, replacing many of the conventions of the Victorians. In California, the work of Greene and Greene made the Craftsman style bungalow, with its open porches, wide eves and mix of building materials, one of the most popular housing styles in the country.
In Chicago, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, William Maher and Dwight Perkins were putting Chicago on the architectural map, developing the Midwest’s Prairie style of architecture with its horizontal lines, rooms that opened one into another, and structures that blended with the landscape.
The Villa was like a laboratory where these new styles of architecture came together, creating a neighborhood of Craftsman, Prairie and Tudor style bungalows and four-squares, and later Chicago’s own style of bungalow.