Last Tuesday, we went on the annual Mystery Trip for those at work who complete Bible memorization and review over and above the staff requirements. It was a short trip this time, just down to Kane County to the Fabyan Estate.
Riverbank was the home of George and Nelle Fabyan, who made millions in the textile industry. They bought a smallish L-shaped home on the Fox River in 1905 and had architect Frank Lloyd Wright expand and redesign it. By the time they were finished, the Fabyans had accumulated over 300 acres and filled them with gardens, a working farm, greenhouses, a private zoo and a windmill. They also built a small lighthouse on an island in the Fox River. The authorities insisted that it be a working lighthouse, so George (who thought this was silly) built it without a door. (I’m not sure what that proved, but that’s what we were told.)
I think my wife is planning to put a post on George’s further activities on her own blog, so I’ll leave that to her. George died in 1936 and his wife three years later. The Kane County Forest Preserve purchased most of their estate, and restoration is still underway.
We got a tour of the villa, which is set up more like a museum than a home, with cases full of stuff that the Fabyans collected. The Wright influence is clearly seen throughout. Hold your cursor over the photos for more information.
After touring the house, we switched tour guides and went through the Japanese gardens. Our guide explained that the garden was laid out to give enlightenment. Before I entered, I stopped and pondered how unenlightened I currently was so I could compare later.
After we were finished with the garden, we were told three things:
- We could wander around and see whatever else there was to see.
- We were in no hurry.
- We had to be back at the vans in 10 minutes.
That gave me, my wife and a few others just enough time to dash down to the river and cross the bridge to the island to see the lighthouse, which didn’t look like it would be around much longer.
From the Fabyan estate, we went to Sweet Tomatoes, a restaurant that features a salad bar the length of three football fields.
Just for the record — I didn’t feel any more enlightened, but on my death bed, I will receive total consciousness. So I got that going for me, which is nice.