Robert Allerton Park began life as the private mansion and grounds of Robert Henry Allerton under the humble name of "The Farms". The centerpiece of the park is the Allerton House, constructed in 1899, and modeled after the 17th century Ham House in Richmond, Surrey, England. The house was designed by John Borie, who was tasked with ensuring that "earth sky and water were visible from all of the main rooms". In fact, the reflecting pond in front of the house is made to mimic the Thames River waterfront enjoyed by Ham House.
The house is surrounded by more than 1,000 acres of forest and exquisitely manicured formal gardens. Allerton commission a great number of art pieces for his estate and sculptures and statuettes spring forth from the forest floor or sit atop pedestals in the formal gardens.
Rather than risk his estate being broken up, in 1946 Allerton deeded the lands to the University. The 5,518 acre estate was worth $1,286,826 when it was given to the University. Today the manor and its surrounding guesthouses serve as a convention center, their 40 guest rooms able to house up to 100 people, redefining the notion of a "motel in the middle of nowhere".
In 1971 more than 1,000 acres of the estate's forests were designated a National Natural Landmark, while in 2004 a large section of the forests were opened to bow hunters to thin the deer population that was threatening the foliage.
|Selected Images of the Allerton Park|
Below is a selection of images of the Allerton Park. These images may be viewed for personal use only and may NOT be republished in any form. To use one of these images in a U of I presentation or Web or print publication, please click on the "download" link beneath each image to download the image free of charge.|