As a real estate team we work with a number of buyers who are moving from City-to-Suburbs... and an important part of the buying process is showcasing the destinations that make Chicago’s western suburbs such a wonderful place to call “home”!
Among the outstanding forest preserves, golf and recreation destinations that we enjoy, Cantigny Park stands out as one of the crown jewels. Located in Wheaton, Cantigny Park is the 500-acre former estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the hugely influential publisher and editor of the Chicago Tribune for nearly half of the 20th century. Before that, McCormick was a Commander in the U.S. Army’s First Division, where he led an artillery battalion at the Battle of Cantigny... the first American victory of World War I.
McCormick’s experience with the First Division so affected him that, upon his return, he chose Cantigny (pronounced “can TEE-nee”) as the name for his family’s estate. Upon his death in 1955, McCormick’s will dedicated Cantigny as “a public space for education and recreation”. Cantigny Park opened to the public in 1958 and today, its museums, gardens and golf courses welcome over 400,000 guests annually.
Two museums occupy the Cantigny campus. The First Division Museum is dedicated to the history of the ‘Big Red One,’ the nickname for the famed 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Many exhibits are interactive and all of them provide fascinating insights about America’s military. The Tank Park —a favorite of young and old— is a “hands on'' experience with tanks from WWI to Desert Storm. The second museum, the Robert R. McCormick Museum, showcases the public and private sides of one of America’s wealthiest and most philanthropic families.
Cantigny Gardens, created in 1967 by renowned landscape architect Franz Lipp, feature 29 acres of lush formal gardens that offer exceptional beauty in all seasons. A majority of the plants seen throughout the gardens are estate-grown inside Cantigny’s greenhouse, which is open for tours on select dates throughout the summer. The #chairsofcantigny —distinct yellow and orange chairs, sofas and lounges— are always on the move throughout the gardens. Alicia Catalano, Cantigny’s Membership Manager, was the inspiration behind the now-famous chairs. She told us, “As a lover of interior design, I thought this would be a great way to bring the indoors outside… a mix of whimsy, art, and a perfect photo opportunity for our members and visitors. The chairs made their debut at Cantigny on April 20, 2016. Within minutes of the chairs being put in the gardens, they became an instant hit with people taking photos in them!”
Cantigny Golf opened for play in 1989 and is recognized as one of Chicagoland’s best courses. The 300-acre complex includes 27 scenic holes, the year-round Cantigny Golf Academy, the 9-hole Youth Links, and a full-service clubhouse with outstanding dining and banquet facilities.
Throughout the year, Cantigny is host to numerous special events, concerts, weddings, lectures, horticulture workshops, fitness classes and more. Nearly three miles of walking trails surround the perimeter and offer ever-changing natural beauty. Project New Leaf, a three-phase process designed to significantly renew and enhance the facilities, began in 2015 and includes updating infrastructure, handicapped accessibility and gardens... to ensure that this treasured destination will welcome guests in grand fashion for the next 50 years.