Pleasant Home

Pleasant Home, also known as the John Farson House, is a historic home located in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, United States. The large, Prairie style mansion was designed by architect George Washington Maher and completed in 1897. The house was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on June 19, 1972. Exactly 24 years later, in 1996, it was declared a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior.[3][4]

John Farson House
historic view of front elevation of "Pleasant Home", which was built for John Farson.
Location217 Home Avenue, Oak Park, Cook County, Illinois
Coordinates41°53′7″N 87°48′2″W
Area4.7 acres (1.9 ha)[1]
ArchitectGeorge W. Maher
Architectural stylePrairie style
NRHP reference #72000454[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 19, 1972
Designated NHLJune 19, 1996[3]


Pleasant Home, historically known as the John Farson House, derives its common name from its location, at the intersection of Pleasant Street and Home Avenue in Oak Park.[5] It was built and designed by prominent Prairie School architect George W. Maher in 1897.[6] The house was constructed for John Farson, who lived in the house from 1897 until 1908. In 1908 the home's most recent private owner, Herbert S. Mills, bought the house and stayed there until he sold it to the Park District of Oak Park in 1939.[6]

Herbert S. Mills owned The Mills Novelty Company, the maker of the Mills Violano-Virtuoso, an electric self-playing violin and piano mechanism. In 2009 a fully restored Mills Violano was installed at Pleasant Home by the Mills Novelty Company and Haughawout Music Company and is currently on display.[7]

The Pleasant Home was situated on a larger lot, which was converted to a park now called Mills Park. Situated on the lot were also a greenhouse and a coach house where horse carriages and horses were originally kept, and later automobiles.[8] The coach house and greenhouse have since been demolished due to deterioration from insufficient upkeep.

Restoration began on the house in 1966 with a US$26,000 rewiring project.[6] In 1970, at a cost of more than $40,000, a number of tasks were completed in the restoration process. On the home's exterior, the fascia and soffit were rebuilt as needed and the roof was repaired as well. Also on the exterior, the wood surfaces were repainted. The repairs were conducted in a manner consistent with the original design and construction of the building.[6]


Pleasant Home is an important example of early Prairie style. The house is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places; it was added on June 19, 1972.[2] In addition to the structure's individual listing on the National Register it was listed as a contributing property to the Ridgeland-Oak Park Historic District when the district was added to the National Register in 1983.[1][2] On June 19, 1996 Pleasant Home was declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark.[9] Two days prior to the National Historic Landmark designation the village of Oak Park's village board declared the John Farson house an Oak Park Landmark.[5] The Farson House is among the earliest of the Prairie style buildings. The house is considered the finest surviving example of Maher's work.[9]

The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest was for many years located on the second floor of the Pleasant Home,[10] but the society moved to the Landmark Firehouse at Lake and Lombard Streets in Oak Park in 2017.[11]

See also


  1. "Pleasant Home," Property Information Report, HAARGIS Database, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Retrieved 27 May 2007
  2. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. "John Farson House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
  4. Kathleen Cummings (January 13, 1992). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: John Farson House / Pleasant Home" (pdf). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help). Accompanying 16 photos, exterior and interior, from c.1901-1905, c.1920 and 1972. (5.87 MB)
  5. "Pleasant Home/John Farson House," Oak Park Landmark Nomination Form, HAARGIS Database, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, pp. 12-31. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  6. "Pleasant Home," Illinois Historic Sites Survey, HAARGIS Database, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, pp. 1-11. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  7. Brown, Bob. "H. S. Mills Residence". Retrieved 2017-10-15.
  8. Miniature display model in the Pleasant Home library room
  9. "John Farson House," NHL Database, National Historic Landmarks Program. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  10. The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest - Plan a Visit
  11. The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest - New Home for History
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