Forest preserve district still may get state grant for Mayslake project

  • The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in 2016 completed a roughly $644,000 project to repair the exterior of Mayslake Hall in Oak Brook. Now it's hoping that a state grant for the project will be reinstated.

    The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in 2016 completed a roughly $644,000 project to repair the exterior of Mayslake Hall in Oak Brook. Now it's hoping that a state grant for the project will be reinstated. Courtesy of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

 
 
Updated 7/8/2019 4:25 PM

Three years after making repairs to historic Mayslake Hall in Oak Brook, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County still hopes to receive a promised state grant for the project.

The district in 2016 completed a roughly $644,000 project to repair the exterior of Mayslake Hall to stop further deterioration of its outer shell, which protects areas inside the 39-room mansion that have been restored.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

At the time, the work had to be paid for without a $215,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources because the money had been suspended -- along with other grants -- by state lawmakers and then-Gov. Bruce Rauner.

But earlier this year, the district learned there is a chance that funding for the 2014 grant will be reinstated.

Forest preserve commissioners on Tuesday are expected to discuss whether they want to pursue a new agreement with IDNR to keep the grant alive. Meanwhile, IDNR officials are working on legislation to reinstate the funding.

Mayslake Hall is a Tudor Revival-style mansion that coal baron Francis Stuyvesant Peabody built between 1919 and 1921. After Peabody's death in 1922, his family sold the estate to the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart Order of Friars Minor, which converted the mansion into a retreat house.

Through the years, the Franciscans sold sections of the estate. The forest preserve district bought the remaining 88 acres in 1993 after taxpayers approved a $17.5 million tax increase.

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The hall is being used as an educational center with architectural tours, lectures and artistic performances.

Officials said restoring the exterior of the courtyard at the rear of the mansion was "critical to protecting previous improvements to the interior."

The project, which started in 2015 and ended in 2016, included restoring exterior wood and stone, restoring the stucco, and repairing copper scuppers and downspouts. Windows and terra cotta chimney pots also were restored. In addition, workers restored and fixed the breakfast porch, which is an enclosed area near the dining room at the rear of the mansion.

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