Dana-Thomas House in Springfield Celebrating Champions of Suffrage

Illinois State Capitol Building- Springfield – Studstill Media Photo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site will host specialty tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence in Springfield Saturdays and Sundays in June to highlight the work of women in Illinois’ suffrage initiatives.

Susan Lawrence Dana commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902 to design an exceptionally large home just a few short blocks away from the Illinois State Capitol. The 35-room, 12,600 square foot residence was designed to be used as a meeting place for organizations as well as for entertaining large groups of people.

On April 14, 1909, Susan Lawrence Dana hosted a reception for more than 100 women from Chicago, including Jane Addams, who were in town to advocate for passage of suffrage legislation. The new tours will offer visitors an in-depth look at the details surrounding this reception and introduce the stories of two suffrage leaders with connections to the Dana-Thomas House.

Following the ratification of the 19th Amendment August 18, 1920, women quickly pursued additional reform initiatives. The National Woman’s Party, which proposed the Equal Rights Amendment to ban discrimination based on sex, appointed Susan Lawrence Dana as the legislative chairwoman of its Illinois branch in 1923. In this role, she organized meetings and communications, and lobbied the legislature.

There are several opportunities to sign up for the suffrage specialty tours at the Dana-Thomas House, which are approximately one hour in length. Tours begin at 10:30 a.m. in the carriage house June 15-16, June 22-23, and June 29-30.

For reservations, which are required, phone 217-782-6776. Groups of 10 or more guests may contact the site for additional dates and times.

The Dana-Thomas House, built between 1902 and 1904, is perhaps the best-preserved of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Prairie Style” homes, with more than 400 pieces of specially made art glass and original furnishings. The house, located at Fourth and Lawrence Streets in Springfield, is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and Wednesdays through Sundays from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.