Villa Turicum – Lake Forest, Illinois - Atlas Obscura
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Lake Forest, Illinois

Villa Turicum

The remains of a Rockefeller's lush Italianate estate hidden in the underbrush on the coast of Lake Michigan. 

Sorry, Villa Turicum is permanently closed.

Edith Rockefeller, like most of her family, was accustomed to the finer things in life and one of the finest things she ever owned was the lovely Italian-inspired estate on Lake Michigan that she named Villa Turicum. However, all things fade and this once-glorious manse now lies in ruin.

Villa Turicum was completed in 1912, envisioned by Rockefeller herself and created by famed architect Charles Platt who turned 300 acres of forest on the banks of the lake into a grand estate. The main house was a rustic-looking villa with columned entrances adding a touch of grandeur. Surrounding the house were sprawling gardens and lawns, scattered with fountains, ponds, and ornamental stairs. In its day Turicum was one of the greatest examples of Italian design found anywhere in America.

Unfortunately, when Edith died the villa died with her. The grounds were sold to the city in 1932 and most of the structures on the estate were torn down within decades. The land was parceled off to create new properties, but there were still remnants of the site’s former glory.

Bits of ornamental stone or concrete platforms remained hidden amongst the forest along Lake Michigan. If one thing can be said for the Rockefellers it’s that their legacy is hard to eliminate.