Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Check on the Restoration of a Mansion

In 1992, voters agreed to let the DuPage Forest Preserve District purchase the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, Illinois, and take on its operation and restoration.

The Tudor Revival mansion is huge and beautiful, built in 1921 for F.S. Peabody. Unfortunately, Mr. Peabody died soon after its completion and his surviving family decided not to keep the house.

It was sold in 1924 to the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic men's religious community. The Franciscans added a spartan two-story retreat building and turned the living room into a beautiful chapel. The mansion served as a religious retreat up until the Forest Preserve acquired it.

After so many years of hard use, Mayslake was overdue for basic maintenance, let alone restoring it to its 1920's glory. Of course the repair bills have been staggering, but progress is being made. It's actually quite fascinating to see the walls stained and peeling in one room and then see what wonderful refurbishment has taken place in the next.

Classes, performances and programs take place at Mayslake all year round, but if you want to take the Restoration in Progress Tour, there are only two tours left this year: Wednesday, December 2 and Wednesday, December 9. Tours will resume again in late January.

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