Historic Mayslake Hall undergoing renovation project

A Mayslake volunteer and a visitor discuss the project while looking at blueprints at the kickoff event on July 16. (Photo courtesy of DuPage Forest District)

DuPage Forest Preserve District commissioners, staff and guests on July 16 celebrated the start of a yearlong exterior restoration project of historic Mayslake Hall in Oak Brook.

The $6.4 million certified master plan project will repair structural deficiencies and other problems with the roof, masonry, wood, stucco, windows, doors and foundation. It will also improve drainage and accessibility.

The district received a $750,000 capital grant from the Public Museum Capital Grants Program, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois State Museum to help pay for the renovations.

The 100-year-old mansion, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will remain closed until the project is completed in summer 2023. The surrounding forest preserve and off-leash dog area remain open. First Folio Theatre will proceed with its 2022-23 season around the construction schedule.

The Forest Preserve District is already planning new exhibits and programs for Mayslake Hall’s reopening in 2023, including an exhibit of Joel Sheesley’s paintings of the West Branch DuPage River.

The Forest Preserve District in 2020 hired an architectural consultant to assess the building envelope to identify structural problems and material deficiencies that were contributing to water damage and other issues. That assessment was the basis for the exterior improvement project.

The district has already made improvements to the site.

Keith McClow, heritage experience manager at the DuPage Forest Preserve District, talks to visitors during a tour of Mayslake as part of the kickoff event for the Mayslake restoration project. (Photo courtesy of DuPage Forest District)

Asphalt was replaced in 2021 in the west parking lot and addressed the lot’s insufficient base, which created problems such as potholes.

In 2019,  the district restored the walnut staircase in the main hall, stripping the stairs and treads to restore them to show the original wood graining. The hall’s living room, areas of the main library, solarium and a few exterior features have also been restored. Private donations and state grants helped fund these projects.

The public is invited to donate to support this project or learn more about giving and engagement opportunities with the Friends of the Forest Preserve District at dupageforest.org/friends.

In 1919 ,Francis Stuyvesant Peabody commissioned renowned Chicago architect Benjamin Marshal to design the Tudor Revival-style mansion that is known as Mayslake Hall. It is one of the last remaining examples of the country estates that dotted DuPage County between 1880 and 1924.

For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok pages.