Fabyan Villa Museum – Geneva, Illinois - Atlas Obscura
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Geneva, Illinois

Fabyan Villa Museum

This house renovated by Frank Lloyd Wright was the centerpiece of a lavish 20th-century estate. 

Strolling around this estate is like exploring an unusual museum littered with remnants of its wealthy past. The house in particular is of interest, as much of how it appears today is due to one of the most influential architects in 20th-century America.  

George and Helle Fabyan originally planned to use the house as a quiet country retreat from the hustle and bustle of living in Chicago. But in 1907, they hired none other than Frank Lloyd Wright to remodel and expand the existing building, transforming the charming farmhouse into a luxurious estate.

After having Wright remodel the house and acquiring 300 additional acres of land, the Fabyans decided to move into the villa full-time. As George was a millionaire textile businessman, they could afford to make their estate into an opulent gem of a home, with the villa acting as its centerpiece.

The villa became a lavish showplace of their wealth. The Fabyans embellished the property with a Japanese garden, zoo, windmill, swimming pool, farm, greenhouse, and several small gardens. The land also boasted a working lighthouse and a scientific laboratory complex that let them pursue their various research interests.

Today, the home is owned by the Kane County Forest Preserve District of Illinois. It has been converted into a park and museum that the public is welcome to explore.

Know Before You Go

The museum is open to the public from May 15 to October 15. It's open on Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4:30 p.m. From June through August, it's also open on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Private tours can be arranged throughout the year.