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Danada House HIKES, HORSES AND HISTORY


A few short miles from Cantigny lies Danada House, another of DuPage’s famed historic estates. Dan Rice, a successful commodities trader from Chicago, and his wife, Ada, established Danada (the literal combination of their first names) in 1928. What began as 152 acres, quickly grew to an impressive 1,350-acre working farm. The couple built a charming 19-room mansion in 1939 to accompany the farm.


LUCKY DEBONAIR’S BIG RACE In 1943 Ada’s passion turned to horse racing and shortly thereafter the Ada L. Rice Stable, a state-of-the-art 26-stall barn, was born. In the 32 years that Ada raced her horses, they won an impressive 2,310 races and more than $3 million. Undeniably, the most famous of Ada’s horses was her bay colt, Lucky Debonair, winner of the 1965 Kentucky Derby. To this day, Lucky Debonair’s race time of 2:01.2 remains one of the fastest in Kentucky Derby history.


PROTECTING DANADA Upon the Rices’ death in the 1970s, the fate of Danada was uncertain. With no will in place and several devel- opers looking to build on the land, a group of DuPage residents formed Save the Rice Farm (now Friends of Danada) to protect the landmark from being destroyed. In 1980 the Danada house, horse barn, and an additional 800 acres of land was purchased by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and restoration began to transform Danada into what it is today.


Danada House has been fully restored and is in regular use as an event venue. The unique space and stunning grounds have proven to be a favorite “I Do” setting for couples in DuPage and surrounding counties.


HOW TO ENJOY DANADA Visitors enjoy Danada in a variety of ways. “Running, biking, walking, dog walking, bird watching, we get photographers out here all the time,” observes Jill Ludvigsen, Friends of Danada’s executive director. The popular three-mile long Danada-Herrick Lake Regional Trail takes visitors over rolling hills to the west, while the shorter 0.9-mile looped Nature Trail leads nature lovers through Parson’s Grove and connects with the regional trail to scenic Rice Lake. The trails and grounds, which are meticulously maintained by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, boast a variety of seasonal flora and fauna.


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