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Mayslake Estate


THE RISE. Built by coal magnate Frances Stuyvesant Peabody, just under a century ago, The Mayslake Estate has had quite a dramatic existence. Peabody, who began construction on his 848- acre country estate in 1919, died tragically in 1922. The generous acreage and newly completed 39-room Tudor Revival-style mansion, was then sold to the Franciscans, Order of Friars Minor. The lavish home, complete with servants’ quarters, secret staircases and hidden compartments, was intended for use by Peabody and his wealthy visitors, but rather served as a retreat center for nearly 70 years.


THE FALL. By the 1990s the estate, which had shrunk from its original 848 acres to 89 acres, was in jeopardy of being torn down and eliminated all together. The Franciscans could no longer afford to keep it and developers were eyeing the prime Oak Brook property. Aware of the history and importance, a group of concerned citizens petitioned the county government to buy it. In 1994 a referendum passed and the estate was purchased by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. “The Mayslake Conservatory Association basi- cally saved it,” states Mark Dyer, community outreach spokesman.


THE REBIRTH. Peabody’s impressive mansion was in need of TLC and maintenance, and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County was happy to bring it back to life.


Mayslake is now considered an education center for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, offering a variety of cultural and historic programs, including concerts, lectures, classes, public tours and private events. “People are amazed at the quality of our programming,” boasts Dyer. “Our theater company is exceptional.” First Folio Theatre Company has been at Mayslake for 21 years and produces four shows annually.


In addition to three-to-five programs going on inside the house each day, there is plenty to explore on the grounds, including a fully restored native prairie, an oak savanna with trees dating to pre-Revolution, a full wetlands and two lakes. “Within our 90 acres, we have some pretty diverse ecosystems. It was unheard of that a piece of property like this would be available to a Forest Preserve.”


One of Mayslake’s most striking features is the Portiuncula Chapel, a remarkable replica of Italy’s St. Francis chapel in Assisi. Originally commissioned as a memorial to Peabody and erected where he died, the chapel was painstakingly moved, brick by brick, and reconstructed in its current location.


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Come see why Elmhurst is a top destination in the Chicagoland area. Conveniently located along the UP-Metra train line, Elmhurst, Illinois features 25-minute express service to Chicago and is just minutes from O’Hare and Midway airports. With a variety of affordable lodging and meeting space options, a charming mix of shops and restaurants, and award winning museums and recreational activities, Elmhurst is the ideal location for your stay.


SHOP


EAT


EXPLORE


STAY


COURTYARD MARRIOT 370 IL-83


EXTENDED STAY AMERICA 550 W Grand Ave


CLARION INN SUITES 933 S Riverside Dr


SPRINGHILL SUITES 410 W Lake St


www.ExploreElmhurst.com DISCOVERDUPAGE.COM 7


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