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Adlai E. Stevenson Historic Home



Address

25200 N St. Mary's Road
Mettawa, IL 60061

Hours

Self-guided trails: 6:30 am–sunset, daily. Exhibits: 9 am–5 pm, daily, Apr–Oct.

Maps

Trail Map
Directions

Acreage

40 acres

Activities

Exhibits
Self-Guided Trails & Exhibits

Amenities

Flush Toilets
Drinking Water
Public Parking

Programs

School & Scout

Related Sites

Captain Daniel Wright Woods
Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway
Museum
Lake County History Archives

Related Documents

Stevenson Home Site Guide

Countywide Map and Guide

The Adlai E. Stevenson Historic Home, designed by Chicago architects Perkins, Wheeler and Will, was built in 1938 by Adlai Stevenson and his wife, Ellen Borden. In 1969, most of the property was sold to Edison Dick, a longtime friend of Stevenson. In 1974, the Dick family donated the estate to the Lake County Forest Preserves. The estate is a designated Illinois Historic Site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Interpretive signs placed along self-guided trails provide historical information about the site. The peaceful setting allows visitors to experience the historic landscape similar to how it appeared when Stevenson lived here.

Center on Democracy

A non-profit organization, Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy, currently leases space within the home from us. The Center was founded in 2008 by former Illinois Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III and other civic leaders to enhance the global understanding and practice of democracy.

Non-partisan and non-ideological, the Center engages people in the democratic dialogue through lively presentations and discussion of major issues in the country and the world so that they can be participants in the solutions. Learn more »

National Historic Landmark

In 2014, the Stevenson Home was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) by the United States Secretary of the Interior in honor of prominent 20th century statesman Adlai E. Stevenson II, who played a major role in the Cold War. The Stevenson Home joins 2,540 other sites across the country recognized as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The estate is also a designated Illinois Historic Site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Trails

Self-guided trails around the property are open 6:30 am–sunset, daily. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Learn about our off-leash Dog Parks (permit required).

Exhibits

April–October, the service building, and its exhibits about Stevenson's life and career, is open 9 am–5 pm, daily. Toilets are available when the service building is open.

Guided Tours

High school and community groups can arrange for a guided tour led by one of our Cultural Resources staff. Call 847-968-3422 for details.

History

In 1935, Adlai E. Stevenson II and his wife, Ellen Borden, purchased 70 acres of land on which to build a home for their family. Learn more »

The first house they built, of "fireproof" construction, burned down soon after it was built. Many of the family's belongings and antiques were lost in the fire. The house standing today is the second house, built on the site in 1938. Like the first house, it was originally painted yellow, which was Ellen's favorite color.

The house is modern and Art Deco in style due to the simplicity of its design, and use of geometric shapes, symmetry, and features that are either stepped or curved. Art Deco was a popular international design movement during the 1920s and 1930s. The many large windows, porches, and decks featured throughout the home provide beautiful views of the expansive property.

The most important room in the house is the study. When he was at home, Stevenson spent the majority of his time at his desk in this room, writing speeches and books, and meeting with dignitaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt, a close friend and frequent guest at the home, and John F. Kennedy. Walking through the house and grounds will bring you one step closer to better understanding this extraordinary man.

The second building located on the property is the service building, built in 1937 by the firm of Anderson and Ticknor of Lake Forest, Illinois. This building housed the garage, horse stalls, and the apartment of the caretaker, Frank Holland, and his family. Holland was farm manager and caretaker for the Stevensons from 1937 to 1963, and again from 1965 to 1970.

Adlai E. Stevenson II (1900-1965)

An influential figure in the political history of the United States, Adlai Stevenson II was born into an already prominent Illinois political family. His grandfather and namesake, Adlai E. Stevenson (1835-1914), was Vice President to Grover Cleveland (1893-1897), and his maternal great-grandfather, Jesse Fell, was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln. Learn more »

Stevenson II was Governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953, ran twice for President as the Democratic National Candidate in 1952 and 1956, and served as Ambassador to the United Nations during the Kennedy administration from 1961 to 1965.

Though he lost both presidential campaigns to Dwight D. Eisenhower, it was Stevenson's ideas that are his real lasting legacy. His importance lay in his efforts to raise the level of the public's awareness about the nature of the world, America's place in it, and what the future was likely to hold.

When he died of a heart attack in London in 1965, The New York Times wrote: "To the public dialogue of his time he brought intelligence, civility and grace. We who have been his contemporaries have been companions of greatness."

Location

The Adlai E. Stevenson Historic Home is part of Captain Daniel Wright Woods Forest Preserve with separate parking available on Saint Mary's Road between Everett Road and Illinois Route 60.

 

 

 

 

PHOTOS

 
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"In quiet places, reason abounds; in quiet people, there is vision and purpose." –Adlai E. Stevenson II, speaking of his Midwest heritage.


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