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.
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.