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Sunday, June 7, 2015

A field trip to Cantigny

South portico
 We could have puttered around at home on Saturday, but none of the chores was urgent. Besides, the sun was shining. We headed to Wheaton, about 75 miles away, to visit Cantigny , the country home of Col. Robert McCormick (1880-1955), publisher of the Chicago Tribune.  (When he lived there it was the country. Now it's surrounded by suburbia.)  In the 1890's his grandfather, Joseph Medill, built a clapboard farmhouse on the property and called it Red Oaks Farm.  When McCormick inherited it he renamed it Cantigny ("canteeny") for the battleground in France where his unit, the Army's First Division, won a victory. McCormick and his wives (Amie died in 1939; he married Maryland in 1944) Amie enlarged the house to 35 rooms, furnished it with antiques and art, and entertained hundreds of people over the years.  The McCormicks had no children. Upon the Colonel's death the estate was turned into a park.

We were in time for the 11:00 tour of the mansion. (No interior photography is allowed.)

"The Allee" 

The grounds and the gardens are beautiful. 

Also at Cantigny: the First Division Museum. It chronicles the history of that unit ("the Big Red 1") from the Revolution to Desert Storm. There are walk-through exhibits replicating a WWI trench, a WWII camp, and a Vietnam War camp. Outside are two dozen tanks. 

Cantigny's operation is supported by the McCormick Tribune Foundation.  Admission is just $5.50 per car for parking.  We enjoyed lunch outdoors at the Cantigny restaurant.

We thoroughly enjoyed the day's outing, and we were home by 3 p.m.!

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