firm active: 1907-1921

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Edna S. Purcell Residence
also known as Lake Place
Purcell and Elmslie
Minneapolis, Minnesota  1913

Reflecting pool, 1914 (Hess-Ives separation color process)

His home is called the Little Joker
with fireplace snug and kindly poker
while by the door there stands a column
most truly round and surely solemn

George Grant Elmslie  circa 1913



Archival Images (b&w interior and exterior, 1913-1915)

Exterior Images (ca. 1950s, and post-restoration
Interior Images (post-restoration)  
Glimpses of the restoration process (1986-1994)

Working drawings: Set of 12 sheets

Additional Images

"Chicago River
Albert Fleury, artist
ca. 1900s

Catherine Garns Gray and Edna Summy Purcell, 1915
Lumière autochrome

Catherine Garns Gray and Edna Summy Purcell, 1915

Fireplace, ca. 1950s

Illustration of this building appears in the catalog for the "Purcell & Elmslie, Architects" exhibition at the Walker Art Center in 1953



UNDER CONSTRUCTION.  Because of the sad circumstances of the death of George Elmslie's wife Bonnie in 1912 and his subsequent return to Chicago to open a second P&E office, there exists a substantial correspondence about the design and furnishing of Lake Place.  His sorrowful misfortune is our reluctant benefit, as it is possible to follow the entire process from initial sketch through construction and later enrichment in the commission of artworks.  The letters, telegrams, notes, and postcards are shown in chronological order.  A general description of the document stream is being accumulated.

Additional Documentation

UNDER CONSTRUCTION.  A variety of interesting documents support the understanding of this design, from specifications to a publication regarding the theory of fresh air circulation that resulted in a highly complex and powerful heating and air exchange system for Lake Place.  The house also had a built-in central vacuum cleaner.

Other References


The remains of the original dictionary stand

First version of the dictionary stand reproduced for the Lake Place restoration

Other Resources

The museum provides a nicely crafted web exhibit called Unified Vision: The Architecture and Design of the Prairie School, which contains didactic panels for Lake Place.



research courtesy mark hammons