Spotted: Joseph Lyman Silsbee in Lincoln Park



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I came across this cottage-like building on a walk through Lincoln Park recently and ventured over for a closer look. Turns out this modest cottage packs a punch: not only was it built in 1888, it was designed by Joseph Lyman Silsbee. Silsbee designed a wealth of buildings in Chicago and beyond but is perhaps best known as mentoring many of the Prairie School of architects. He was the first architect to hire Frank Lloyd Wright.

This building, also known as the Carson Cottage, was originally a “comfort station,” servicing the Victorian era visitors to the park. It went unused for many years but was restored in 2008.

The Carson Cottage today catches the eye as one passes by the south end of the zoo. The unique combination of stone and brick, along with the double-pitched, mossy roof make the cottage look completely at home in the wooded Lincoln Park.

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Sources and Further Reading:

From Syracuse Then and Now, a brief biography of Joseph Lyman Silsbee.

The Art Institute of Chicago has a great digital archival collection of some of the buildings designed by Silsbee.

You can read more about the restoration efforts (and see pictures!) on the Interactive Design Architects website.

The Carlson Cottage is listed in the AIA Guide to Chicago and, as a Chicago Landmark, can be found on the City of Chicago’s Landmarks website.

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12 thoughts on “Spotted: Joseph Lyman Silsbee in Lincoln Park

    1. Oh good! Yes, I enjoyed those interior photos–only wish I could see the interior too 🙂 It’s a beautiful little building! Definitely a preservation success story.


  1. […] More than anything else, historic preservation has taught me to keep my eyes open (and always read the plaque). You never know what you might find! Across Chicago, I come across familiar features and names at an almost ridiculous rate. On a walk through Lincoln Park I was amazed to find a historic bathroom bearing the name of an architect whom I’d actually heard of.  (Read more: Spotted–Joseph Lyman Silsbee in Lincoln Park.) […]


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