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DuPage County experienced a unique housing boom at the turn of the 19th century. The county, which at the time was primarily farmland, proved a quiet retreat for wealthy Chicagoans as many adopted the European tradition of building country homes. As a result, DuPage became the site of numerous grand homes and estates, many of which still stand and are open to the public.


Cantigny Park THE LEGACY OF ROBERT R. MCCORMICK


Perhaps, the most famous of these is Cantigny, the former estate of Colonel R. McCormick of Chicago Tribune and WGN fame. Upon his death in 1955, McCormick willed the estate for the enjoyment of the public. “His intent was to leave Cantigny for the people of Illinois — for their education, recreation and welfare,” explains Matt LaFond, Cantigny’s executive director. “We are just following our benefactor’s wishes today by inviting the public to enjoy this special place.” And invite they do! From art festivals to historic re-enactments to a regular concert series, McCormick’s legendary estate has become one of the jewels of DuPage County.


EXPLORE CANTIGNY While Cantigny has undeniably changed since the days of McCormick, his wish has certainly been granted. His home and the surrounding land are open to the public seven days a week, 11 months a year (closed in January). Visitors regularly take advantage of the 29 acres of formal gardens, dozens of picnic tables and eating areas, 2.5 miles of well-maintained hiking trails, and the Robert R. McCormick and First Division Museums.


CANTIGNY GOLF Golfers come from all over to play at Cantigny Golf, a 27- hole championship golf course that was awarded “Best New Public Course in America” by Golf Digest in 1989, the year it opened. A regular host of U.S. Open qualifying games, Cantigny Golf also offers an extremely popular year-round Golf Academy and a 9-hole Youth Links Course.


COMMITMENT TO VETERANS Upon his return from World War I, McCormick renamed the estate Cantigny after a small French town and in honor of the men and women with whom he served. “McCormick was very proud of his military service and a big supporter of veterans,” explains LaFond. “Cantigny continues that legacy.” Veterans and active-duty military are invited to join Cantigny’s Honor Club. Benefits include reduced green fees, complimentary parking, discounts at Cantigny’s restau- rants and exclusive special events. Cantigny also regularly supports the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans and has carried on McCormick’s tradition of hosting veteran reunions on the grounds.


A two-day Revolutionary War re-enactment, held in September, is one of Cantigny’s most popular and well-at- tended events. Re-enactors from the Northwest Territory Alliance spend a weekend camped at Cantigny as they engage in various battles. Not only are the battles narrated and explained in real time, but attendees are encouraged to interact with the re-enactors to learn about military life during that time.


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