- For the town in France, see Cantigny, Somme. For the World War I battle that occurred there, see Battle of Cantigny. For the USAT Cantigny, see Cantigny alias Arosa Kulm.
Cantigny is a 500-acre (2.0 km2) park in Wheaton, Illinois, 30 miles west of Chicago. It is the former estate of Joseph Medill and his grandson Colonel Robert R. McCormick, publishers of the Chicago Tribune, and is open to the public. Cantigny includes large formal and informal gardens, two museums, a 27-hole golf course, a picnic grove, a playground, hiking paths, restaurants and a gift shop.
The land was acquired by Joseph Medill as a country estate, which he called Red Oaks, in the late 1800s. After his death, the estate passed to his grandson, Colonel McCormick. Colonel McCormick served in World War I and saw action at the Battle of Cantigny. After returning home, he renamed the estate in honor of the battle.
Colonel McCormick had no children. When he died in 1955, he left his fortune to establish the McCormick Charitable Trust (now the McCormick Foundation). He also directed that Cantigny should be transformed into a park for the use of the general public. Since then, the McCormick Foundation has used the endowment funds bequeathed by Colonel McCormick to operate Cantigny as a public facility.
Robert R. McCormick Museum
In 1896–1897, Joseph Medill built a 35-room mansion on the estate; it was designed by architect Charles Allerton Coolidge. Today the mansion is the Robert R. McCormick Museum, a historic house museum which is open to the public for tours.
First Division Museum
During World War I, Colonel McCormick served with the First Division of the United States Army—also known as the "Big Red One". Colonel McCormick provided an endowment for the First Division Museum, which was designed by architect Andrew Rebori. The museum has exhibits and artifacts chronicling the First Division's service history, not only in World War I, but also in World War II and later U.S. wars.
On display outside the museum is the area's largest collection of tanks and artillery pieces, known as "Tank Park". The collection includes tanks and armored vehicles from the First World War up to the present day. Younger visitors are allowed to climb on the vehicles.
The museum hosts presentations and guest speakers on subjects of interest to military historians. Speakers include historians, authors, and veterans. The presentations are generally open to the public and free of charge.
The museum is also home to the McCormick Research Center, for use by authors, scholars, teachers and students. The Center's Archives contain over 10,000 works on military history, including secondary works on various battles, campaigns, and wars. Included in the primary works are the bound battle records of the First Division in World War I, and the First Infantry Division's World War II battle records on microfilm. The Center's Reading Room is open to the public.
The Cantigny estate includes ornamental landscapes and idea gardens covering several acres around the residence. The original design of the gardens was the work of noted German-American landscape architect Franz Lipp from 1967-1977. Colonel McCormick and his first wife Amy, are buried on the grounds.
Cantigny Golf, open to the public, is on the southern half of the Cantigny estate. The 2007 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship was held at the course, as was the 2008 Illinois State Amateur Championship. The Cantigny Golf Academy, a full-service practice and teaching center, opened in 2008. The Cantigny Youth Links is a 9-hole course just for kids.
The McCormick museum was used for filming a scene in A League of Their Own (1992) from the east end overlooking the fountain and pond east of the museum.
Cantigny Park is located on Winfield Road, just south of Illinois Route 38 (Roosevelt Road). The entrance to Cantigny Golf is on Mack Road.
- http://www.cantigny.org/mccormickmansion1stfloorreceptionhall.htm McCormick Mansion
- Cantigny Park
- First Division Museum at Cantigny
- Cantigny Golf
- McCormick Foundation
- Cantigny First Division Oral Histories in Ball State University Libraries' Digital Media Repository