Fabyan garden to tell time once again

Time turns back Sunday at the Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, when a sundial will grace the rose arbor again.

The Friends of Fabyan will dedicate a replacement sundial at 3 p.m. to the memory of John Marshall Butler. Butler, who died in 2003 at the age of 97, grew up on the Fabyan estate. His mother was a cook for the workmen employed by Col. George and Nelle Fabyan.

Butler's sons, daughter, nephew and granddaughter will speak at the dedication of the 15-inch octagonal timepiece.

"It took us years to find an eight-sided one," said Darlene Larson, co-president of Friends of Fabyan.

The original, which was installed in 1910, disappeared in the 1950s or 1960s.

The Friends of Fabyan is an auxiliary group that supports Fabyan historic sites and teaches the public about the Fabyans and their former riverside estate, which the Kane County Forest Preserve District now owns. Besides the arbor, the preserve includes a Japanese garden, the Fabyan Villa (which has an addition designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) and a windmill imported by the Fabyans.

The Fabyans owned Riverbank Laboratories, where research in acoustics, code-breaking and other sciences was done, as well as research into the theory that Sir Francis Bacon actually wrote the literature attributed to William Shakespeare.

The arbor is in the western portion of the preserve, on Route 31 north of Fabyan Parkway.

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