Step into a 1950s time capsule and experience an architectural masterpiece at The Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois.

Built in 1951 as a weekend retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a Chicago research physician, The Farnsworth House is one of 20th-century modern architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s most famous works.

The home’s natural setting is the cornerstone of the tour experience. Tucked away in a floodplain forest along the bank of the Fox River, its surplus of glass walls gives the home an almost transparent appearance among thick tree trunks and lush greenery surrounding the property.

“The best part of the visit is being inside the house and seeing nature all around you — being ‘a part of and apart from’ as the saying goes,” said Scott Mehaffey, executive director of The Farnsworth House. “The pastoral rural location remains an important part of the experience and a large portion of the walking tour. In the spring, the mix of daffodils and bluebells is stunning — and fall color in this woodland setting is equally as beautiful.”

Interior, The Farnsworth House, Plano, Ill. Credit: James Cardis/Aurora Area CVB
Interior, The Farnsworth House, Plano, Ill.
Credit: James Cardis/Aurora Area CVB

After arriving at the Visitor Center, groups will watch a short orientation film then walk, accompanied by a Farnsworth guide, about a half mile around the grounds to the house. After the tour, visitors can shop, enjoy the outdoor café seating or see an exhibition in Farnsworth Gallery located next to the Visitor Center.

The Farnsworth House’s architecture represents Mies van der Rohe’s minimalist expression of structure and space — a piece of architectural artwork heavily inspired by the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Inside, guests can roam the 1,500-square-foot home, yet feel at one with nature sitting just on the other side of the glass walls. On the outside, visitors marvel at the home’s continuous ceiling planes that extend beyond the interiors to external overhangs and porch coverings.

Groups of 15 or more must book their guided, 90-minute tour in advance to secure their spot. Visitors can experience The Farnsworth House year-round.

For more information on The Farnsworth House call 630-552-0052 or visit

Article by Erica Zazo