2017 Day Trip: Fabyan Forest Preserve / Fabyan Villa

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Fabyan Villa

House of George and Nelle Fabyan from 1905 to 1939, was redisigned and enlarged by Frank Llyod Wright in 1907.

Location: Fabyan Forest Preserve East, 1600 Crissey Ave (IL Rte 25), Geneva, IL 60134.

2017 Day Trip: Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, Illinois.

The idea was to see the Fabyan Windmill – An Old Dutch Mill.
But then I found out there was a lot more to explore, including Fabyan Villa and Fabyan Japanese Gaden.

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa was the home of George and Nelle Fabyan from 1908 to 1939. The mid-1800s farmhouse that the Fabyans acquired in 1905 was dubbed by them, “The Villa”. The house is notable because of its remodelling in 1907 by Frank Lloyd Wright. His design altered the floor-plan from L-shaped to a cruciform, and changed a simple farm house into a modified Prairie home. An emphasis on horizontal elemnts like the thin clapboard slides, a heavy low roof with overhanging eaves, and the addition of verandas and decorative railing make the Villa appear solidly grounded to the landscape. Other hallmarks of Wright’s organic architecture found in the Fabyan Villa are geometric window motifs, ‘light screens’ (bands of windows), string-coursing, open floor plan, and wood-spindle screening.

George Fabyan was a millionaire businessman who had a thirst for knowledge. Inheritance from his tycoon-father’s textile business, Bliss, Fabyan & Co. provided the financial foundation from which the Colonel and his wife, Nelle, established their legacy. Their estate, which they named as  – Riverbank  – on the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois spanned approximately 600 acres and featured, among other things, a Japanese Garden, private zoo, Roman-style swimming pool, greenhouses, gardens, grottoes, a lighthouse, a Dutch-style windmill, a country club, a small farm and a scientific laboratory complex.

Fabyan Villa was the centerpiece of the Fabyan’s  Riverbank Estate. The Kane County Forest Preserve District of Illinois purchased the majority of the Fabyan estate in 1939, and operated the Fabyan’s home as a museum off and on beginning in 1940. In 1995 Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley was enlisted to operate the site and developed the Fabyan Villa Museum into a Fabyan historic home museum, where photographs, the Fabyans’ personal artifact collections, and a limited number of original furnishings, as well as the Riverbank story are shared with the public.

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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One interesting thing I noticed was the Egyptian motifs on many garden decorations near the villa!
What’s the story behind them, I am not sure, but they one could not overlook them.
Here are some images…

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan Villa

Fabyan Villa

 

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Fabyan’s Riverbank Estate

As mentioned earlier, Fabyan’s estate, which they named as – Riverbank – on the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois spanned more than 300 acres and featured, among other things, a Japanese Garden, private zoo, Roman-style swimming pool, greenhouses, gardens, grottoes, a lighthouse, a Dutch-style windmill, a country club, a small farm and a scientific laboratory complex.

For me, the most important were:
Fabyan Villa.
Fabyan Japanese Garden, and
Fabyan Windmill… click here..
But then, just strolling in the raea one can see so many interesting things, like the lighthouse and even bear cage. Yes Fabyan’s had two bears Tom and Jerry.

All these are part of Fabyan Forest Preserve now.  Here are some images..

 

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Fabyan Japanese Garden

Fabyan Japanese Garden

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In 1910, the Fabyans hired Taro Otsuka to design a Japanese-style garden below the villa. The one-acre garden was developed over the next several years, and from 1918 on, maintained by Susumu Kobayashi, a Japanese immigrant gardener. Japanese gardens were popular amongst the upper class, and it was a well-known attraction throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Although neglected for decades after the Fabyans, the Fabyan Japanese Garden was renovated beginning in 1974, and today contains restored and replicated original elements including a pond, waterfall, moon bridge, oversized lantern, and teahouse.

 

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Fabyan Windmill

Fabyan Windmill

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In 1914, the Fabyans purchased a windmill located on a farm near what is now Elmhurst, Illinois and had it relocated to the east bank of the Fox River across from the Villa on acreage acquired that same year. The Fabyan Windmill is unique due to the bakery it houses that according to legend, was used to bake bread for the Fabyans’ pet bears. During war-time rationing, the Windmill was used to grind grain for the surrounding community; a deed that was later honored by means of a U.S. postal stamp.

 

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Bear Cage

Bear Cage

 

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Garden

Garden

 

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Fabyan Lighthouse

Fabyan Lighthouse

 

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Related Links:

Fabyan Forest Preserve Attractions.. click here..

My Vacations.. click here..
Vacation: USA.. click here..
Vacation: UK.. click here..
Vacation: India.. click here..
UNESCO World Heritage Site.. click here..
Home: Public Art in Chicago..  .. click here..

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