Robert R. McCormick Museum at CantignyWheaton
This mansion was built in 1896 and later inherited by Chicago Tribune publisher Col. Robert R. McCormick, one of the nation's conservative power brokers when he lived here. He expanded it in 1936, adding the Jefferson Portico (resembling Monticello) and the Madison Portico (resembling Montpelier). It represents a slice of Chicago society from the Jazz Age through World War II. Of particular interest is the colonel's stately, colonial-style library with a secret panel opening onto a rakish Art Deco bar. Some of McCormick's office furniture from Tribune Tower is also on display in one of the bedrooms. Books reveal his intense interest in history; the mansion's kitchen provides a vivid glimpse of another aspect of life on a country estate. A tour of this mansion/museum, with a video introduction, is a good bet for a summer outing since the gardens of Cantigny (McCormick named his estate after a battlefield where he fought in the First World War) are among the wonderful outdoor places of the Chicago area. Also on the grounds is the First Division Museum, an extensive military museum focused on, and honoring, the division in which McCormick served.