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 lakes 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
From Italian Style in the Midwest: Villa Turicum by Douglas Macdonald; The Weedpatch
Gazette -Winter, 1997
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
meteenagers 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!
:: Villa Turicum Today ::
restored watercourse to the lake.
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."
watercourse in the fall.
staircase and gardens.
dolphins on the upper terrace.
fountain on the south garden promenade.
former south promenade in spring.
roof of the dressing-rooms; adjacent to the remains of the swimming pool
view north in the spring toward the steps & watercourse.
terraces & watercourse, (click to enlarge) as seen from the air
cherish my original copy of the auction catalog for Ediths 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 theblog) as