~ Villa Turicum ~






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Harold and Mathilde at the lake’s edge, 1912


“The house was long abandoned and demolished in 1956, and the property was extensively sub-divided. But the water chain leading to the lake, has, in the past three years, been marvelously restored by its current owners, mostly from original stone found scattered on the bluff. The twin walkways on either side now lead again to the lake’s edge, where a ling tunnel (now sealed) once led to an elevator that carried guests back up to the house from the beach, where a swimming pool was located. A lily pool to the south of the mansion has also been restored (though not the lilies), although the sunken gardens formerly surrounding the lily pool are now gone.”


From Italian Style in the Midwest: Villa Turicum by Douglas Macdonald; The Weedpatch Gazette -Winter, 1997






Dear Todd,

I was very pleased to see your website! I lived about a mile or so from Villa Turicum in Whispering Oaks section of Lake Forest the 1960's and played there alone or with friends. My cousin recently sent a picture of the ruins and searching on line for Edith Rockefeller McCormick, I found your site. What wonderful pictures! We even camped there one weekend. I remember going to the Lake Forest Library and they pulled out some old brittle newspaper articles about the place. What we called the bathhouse facing the pool on the beach was the main feature for us, naturally. My Dad (a native of Deerfield and Highland Park) told me   teenagers would go there in the 1930's and 1940's, the place
was getting abused and so the house was demolished by the owners. There was one large building remaining facing a road, that we called the "32 car garage".  One could imagine Villa Turicum as a symbol of a 19th century America peaking and then collapsing. We built a house in Whispering Oaks in 1959, the roads
weren't even finished being cut or paved. There were sidewalks marked with dates from the 1920's when must have been an attempt to develop the area. My grandfather ran the old Armour farm in Lake Forest, with a man named Carroll. I believe it is now a state monument. VT was a place where a kid's imagination really soared, old money, the
roaring 20's, even the Middle Ages and Roman times came alive. I suppose it is all gone or developed today. Perhaps I will find out on your website!

-E.V. 01/15/11

:: Villa Turicum Today ::



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The restored watercourse to the lake.




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“A pelican, guarded at each side by a grinning alligator, fills a basin and becomes the source of the quietly splashing waters of the lower cascade."





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The watercourse in the fall.






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Restored staircase and gardens.








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Twin dolphins on the upper terrace.





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The fountain on the south garden promenade.






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The former south promenade in spring.




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Again, looking north.





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The roof of the dressing-rooms; adjacent to the remains of the swimming pool below.





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The view north in the spring toward the steps & watercourse.





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The view south.




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The terraces & watercourse, (click to enlarge) as seen from the air today.





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The Tea House





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The Lily Pond



:: Addendum ::








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I cherish my original copy of the auction catalog for Edith’s estate; put together by Chicago Title & Trust in 1934. It is rich with information and photos which I will continue to add to this website (or the  blog) as time permits.








•(1) Home


•(2) Grounds


•(3) Interiors


•(4) Exteriors


•(5) Ruin

•(6) Today


•(7) Addendum


•(8) Blueprints   




• The Villa Turicum Blog

• Mrs. McC

Lake Forest – Lake Bluff Historical Society


• Lake Forest Preservation Foundation


• The Benjamin Marshall Society


• Zachary Taylor Davis












Charles Platt is a very dangerous man -- he does the wrong thing so well." - Frank Lloyd Wright



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