More than fifty Conservancy members and supporters braved rainy weather on December 17, 2023, to gather at the Frederick and Grace Bagley House in Hinsdale, Illinois, for a holiday party. The festive agenda was to celebrate the protection of the Bagley House from potential demolition, and to take in an exhibit about one of its original clients and owners, Grace Bagley.

The Bagley House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1894, was threatened with redevelopment until Safina Uberoi and Lukas Ruecker came to the rescue. In the process of researching the house for nomination to the National Register, architectural historians Julia Bachrach and Jean Follett uncovered the legacy of Grace Bagley, a pioneering social reformer whose contributions had been largely forgotten. Inspired by her remarkable accomplishments, the idea of an exhibit was born, and took shape as Finding Grace: Rediscovering the Life and Contribution of Social Reformer Grace Bagley. The exhibit opened in the Bagley House in November 2023 and attracted audiences from across Chicago through partnerships with organizations like the Hinsdale Historical Society, League of Women Voters, and Chicago Architecture Center. The Conservancy’s holiday party took place during the exhibition’s final weekend.

After enjoying fellowship and an opportunity to view the exhibit, guests gathered for remarks. Conservancy executive director Barbara Gordon and co-owner Lukas Ruecker told the story of saving the house. Bachrach and Follett presented their research about Grace Bagley’s life. Together, the speakers reinforced the importance of preserving and protecting the Bagley House as an early example of Wright’s developing vision, as well as giving Grace Bagley her due respect as a pioneering social progressive.

The on-site exhibit is now closed and a national tour starts in May 2024. We will update this story with program details regarding where you can see Finding Grace shortly. The work of restoring the Bagley House to Wright’s original intent will begin in mid-2024.

Mark Hertzberg shared more context about the Bagley House and photos from this event on his Wright in Racine blog. Click here to read more >>

People standing in groups and socializing in a room where a number of informational panels for an exhibit are standing People standing in an octagonal shaped library wing of Bagley House with displays from an exhibit standing behind them.

Conservancy members and friends view the Finding Grace exhibit at the Bagley House on December 17, 2023

Additional opportunities to view exhibit

The exhibit will be on view at the Hinsdale Public Library, 20 E. Maple St., from April 30-May 31, 2024. There will be an opening reception on April 30 and a presentation on May 14.

Posted January 19, 2024