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posted: 2/8/2018 1:21 PM

Forest preserve seeks donations for Peabody Estate

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By Deb Humiston
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

The Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is seeking donations to help fund the restoration of an ornate walnut staircase at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's historic Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook.

Donations are needed to repair and refinish the woodwork on the stairs and balustrade and install a period-appropriate runner.

Donors already have pledged more than $14,000 in matching funds and individual gifts for the staircase restoration. The goal is to raise an additional $29,673 from individual donors so the project can be completed this summer.

"We are very grateful for the support of so many individuals who are helping us restore this important part of DuPage County's history," forest preserve President Joe Cantore said.

In 1919, coal baron Francis Stuyvesant Peabody commissioned renowned Chicago architect Benjamin Marshall to design a Tudor Revival-style mansion. In an era when first impressions were important, the entrances of residences such as Mayslake Hall needed to wow visitors while affirming the social status and wealth of the owner, so architects created staircases with richly carved balusters and perforated strap-work.

Mayslake Hall's central walnut staircase is an excellent example of such an entrance, and the single-most important architectural feature of the mansion.

Today, Mayslake Hall is a registered national historic landmark and well known as a cultural and educational center.

To donate to the project, contact the forest preserve district at (630) 933-7097 or fundraising@dupageforest.org, or visit dupageforest.org/friend/priority-projects.

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