The doors to Chicago’s finest places and spaces don’t unlock themselves. This year, we’re introducing you to the passionate, enthusiastic people helping us put Open House Chicago 2016 together.
Bill Tyre is the Executive Director and Curator at Glessner House Museum. He’s one of just three full-time staff members who manage and maintain one of Chicago’s most famous homes—now a historic museum. Completed in 1887, Glessner House was saved thanks to preservation efforts that resulted in the formation of both the museum and Chicago Architecture Foundation in 1966. In 2016, Glessner House Museum and CAF will both be celebrating their 50th anniversary.
What is your favorite part about this site? Why should people see it?
The house is large—more than 17,000 square feet of space—yet it feels very intimate. Frances Glessner asked the house’s architect, H. H. Richardson, to create a cozy interior, and he did exactly that, through the arrangement and proportions of the spaces.
We often hear from visitors that they can imagine themselves living in the house—whether curled up with a book on the window seat in the library, or settling in for the night in one of the guest rooms. The best photographs in the world can't convey that special sense that you feel when you experience Glessner House firsthand.
What do you love about Open House Chicago?
I never cease to be amazed at how many people visit during OHC, stating they’ve lived in Chicago all their lives and never knew about Glessner House! Open House Chicago makes us so keenly aware of the incredible architectural treasures that can be found in every corner of the city.
What is your favorite OHC experience?
An elderly gentleman came up to me at the front door and said that in the early 1940s, when he was in high school, he used to wash the windows when the Glessner House was owned by Armour Institute [now Illinois Institute of Technology]. It was the first time he had been back to Glessner in 70 years!