We believe that our cultural and natural resources are an exciting asset to our community, both to this and future generations. It is our goal that by developing an emotional engagement with Mayslake, our local communities will join us in creating a legacy of stewardship as we work to preserve our shared heritage. By using these resources to inspire our programming, we are proud to offer a wide variety of multi-disciplinary, life-long learning opportunities for the public.
Educational programs are both formal and informal and include a variety of workshops focusing upon management of our natural and cultural resources, lecture series, team building, professional retreats, and several multilevel recreational workshops that introduce new skills or give participants the chance to improve existing skills. Mayslake’s thriving cultural program includes award-winning theater presented by our resident professional theater company, First Folio Theatre, as well as musical programs and workshops in a variety of the arts.
Indoor Restoration of Mayslake Hall, Off to a Flying Start!
After 90 years of intense use as a place for living, events, and worship (the Franciscan friars used the space as a chapel at one time), the Living Room was looking tired. Grey and mint-green painted walls, aluminum windows, and a water-damaged ceiling were all in desperate need of restoration work.
After determining the scope of work, soliciting bids, and awarding contracts, the work started with the “stucco-duro” ceiling (applied,molded plaster). First it needed to be stripped of countless layers of paint that obscured many details of the original work. Some areas where damaged beyond repair and several new molds needed to be created. Analysis determined that the color was not the expected white, but a surprising dark buff. The color really adds to the experience as you enter the room, and pulls your eye up to the beautifully detailed ornamental plaster. Overall, it took five men six weeks of intense work to complete this task under the watchful eye of Neal Vogel of Restoric L.L.C.
The original architectural drawings by Marshall & Fox specified “hand-worked” plaster on the living room walls. This type of Old English plaster is intended to resemble 16th-century English plasterwork. Microscopic analysis revealed that the plaster mix had a through-body, dark sand-like color. After numerous test panels and discussions, the restoration specialists settled on the final color and best restoration method, resulting in the walls being skim-coated in their entirety and finished with a lime-wash to replicate the original variegated finish.
All 200 original windows and doors around Mayslake Hall were leaded glass. Like many others on the first floor, the living room windows and doors were replaced withaluminum in the 1970s. These aluminum windows and the door leading to the back grounds were removed and replaced with new ones that were fabricated according to the original drawings. They bring the room back to the Tudor Revival style architecture that was originally intended.
Last, but not least, the nickel-plated hardware, replicated wall sconces, and time-appropriate crystal ceiling chandeliers were added to complete the project. Now that the work has been completed the living room is as elegant, vibrant, and grand as when the house was first built in 1921.
The solarium too looked worn and in dire need of restoration. Sections of Caen stone walls and decorative faux painted ceilings peeked through layers of peeling paint.
The aluminum windows dominated this space— a 1/3 third solid panel on the bottom and two glass sections on top—, so we decided to begin the restoration of the solarium with replacing them. Fabricating such big heavy windows is not a task for the faint of heart, but now that the nine floor-to-ceiling windows are complete, the result is stunning. The glass goes all the way to the ground, inviting the outdoors in and connecting the inside space with the outdoors. The original green color of the trim enhances this design idea.
The solarium is the first room of historic Mayslake Hall that our guests enter when visiting. Now that the windows have been restored we have earmarked the rest of the solarium as the next restoration project.
The living room restoration was made possible thanks to funding from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, a $25,000 donation from Peabody Energy, and private donations. The restoration of the solarium windows was made possible with an $80,000 grant we received from the Partners in Preservation initiative, a collaboration between the National Trust and the American Express Foundation.
We would like to thank those who made these projects possible. We look forward to continuing this exciting restoration project so that Mayslake can serve our community for generations to come.
Mayslake Peabody Estate receives $18,500 Grant.
Presented Jan. 13, 2009 the donation was provided by the Oak Brook Historic Preservation Fund. The fund was established as a division of the Oak Brook Historical Society in 2008 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Village of Oak Brook by raising public awareness of historic preservation and by unifying the community through a collaborative fundraising initiative. Over 30 special events showcased the village’s history and its character today. Mayslake Peabody Estate and the Village of Oak Brook’s Old Butler School were designated as recipients of funds raised during the year.
Kathy Maher, president of the Oak Brook Historical Society and co-chair of the Oak Brook Historic Preservation Fund, noted that the organization chose MayslakePeabody Estate as a recipient because of its historic significance and varied offerings to the community. “We’re looking forward to working further with Mayslake, which has been designated as a recipient of funds raised in 2009,” stated Maher.
“This generous donation is a testament to the importance Mayslake has to our community” said D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr., president of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. “We are dedicated to developing this dynamic educational and cultural resource, and thank Mayslake’s supporters for sharing our vision.”
Mayslake Peabody Estate receives $125,000 donation.
The District is pleased to announce a donation totaling $125,000 over five years from Peabody Energy. St. Louis-based Peabody Energy was founded by Francis Stuyvesant Peabody, Mayslake Peabody Estate’s original owner. During his lifetime, Peabody’s namesake company grew from a small retail operation into one of the most successful coal businesses in the United States.
Each year, the Peabody Energy donation will be allocated to the restoration projects most in need of funds. This year’s donation will aid in the restoration of the solarium and living room, which will include ornamental plaster and paint restoration; cabinet and casework refinishing; custom window and door fabrication and installation; historic, zinc-leaded glass window restoration and reinstallation.back to top