“A world of natural beauty”
The Robert Allerton Park is a 1,517-acre park, nature center, and conference center. It was once the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton. Open year-round from 10am until dusk (except Christmas and New Year's Day), the park offers visitors many pleasures to be experienced: more then seventy sculptures, acres of formal gardens, miles of hiking and skiing trails, native forests, natural areas and the Visitors' Center. Allerton Park was built as the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton. Named “The Farms,” the estate was the center of the 12,000-acre Illinois agricultural enterprise assembled during the late 1800s by Robert’s father Samuel. The family wealth extended well beyond Illinois as Samuel Allerton amassed more than 80,000 acres of farmland across the Midwest. The elder Allerton was a founding principal of the First National Bank of Chicago, and held prominent leadership positions in five major stockyards, including the Union Stockyards of Chicago. Although he oversaw his father’s interests in the Central Illinois farms, Robert Allerton’s passion was art. Educated in Europe, he travelled extensively in winter, and became an avid art collector, philanthropist and artist who viewed the landscape as his canvas. Allerton believed that through nature, art could surround and embrace every human. This belief in the artistic power of nature led to his lifelong commitment to stewardship of the land and its natural elements. With the help of John Gregg, his protégé and, later, adopted son, Robert spent decades shaping the Illinois farmland to create ever-evolving landscapes that captured the natural beauty of the woodland and prairie, and formal gardens which served as an outdoor gallery for the sculpture he collected during his travels around the world. Allerton’s brilliance can be seen in the careful placement of each flower, the deliberate turn of every path, and the guided movement of color throughout his 14 formal gardens. As you stroll through his inspired creation, you are transported from daily life into a place where cultural artifacts enhance Mother Nature’s best. Allerton’s intention of restful inner reflection will fill your mind, replacing discord with the harmony of natural and manmade beauty. Allerton painted with flowers, sculpted with espaliered apple trees, and composed with quiet footsteps leading from his main house, through his masterpiece of refined landscape and out into the unrestrained exquisiteness of nature. A complimentary Garden Tour is offered the third Saturday of every month, April – October. Meet at the Visitor Center at 10am for this hour long tour of Allerton’s exquisite Formal Gardens. Pre-registration is not necessary. Donations are appreciated. The Allerton Retreat Center (Mansion) is used as a retreat and conference facility by University, state, and corporate clients. The natural areas of the Park are used by a variety of University departments, as well as other universities and conservation agencies, for environmental study and for participatory student interactions. Both the Retreat Center and Park areas are used for wonderfully unique weddings and special events.
The grounds and building itself are incredibly beautiful. Take a walk through the woods to the Pioneer Cemeteries. In the springtime, the ground is covered in spring ephemerals.
Not far away from Monticello (approximately 30 minutes by car) this historical park which is a donation to the University of Illinois, offers you much more than just a simple walk to nature.
The gardens are fantastic to see and especially in combination with the neoclassical sculptures and ornaments.
At the park, one can see a variety of gardens with different kinds of trees, flowers and sculptures. Also, there is a library with beautiful pine walls), a gallery, a conference area used for a variety of events,and even a place o stay overnight called the Gate House which used to belong to the gardener of Robert Allerton who used to live there.
Very interesting site to visit and learn about this great artist. Very informative and educational for your children.
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