While browsing the always-fascinating archives of the Chicago Tribune, I came across a news item from the January 20, 1934 edition about the auction of items from the estate of Edith Rockefeller McCormick. Mrs. McCormick, who died in August 1932, along with her husband, Harold McCormick, commissioned celebrated architect Charles Adams Platt to design the magnificent Villa Turicum as their summer retreat. Blueprints emerged from Platt’s dreams in 1907, and it took another ten years for the Italianate villa to rise on the shores of Lake Michigan in Lake Forest. The McCormicks reportedly spent $2 million on the home’s construction, and even more on the home’s interiors. Not the happiest of married couples, they spent little time at their stunning home. The home and grounds sold at a sheriff auction for an ignominious $51,524.00 in October 1933. A developer bought the languishing property and the 260 acres surrounding it in 1956. The once-magical home was razed. Here is an astoundingly beautiful website dedicated to the Villa.
The article, not terribly legible, reads as follows:
“The throngs of visitors who yesterday inspected the grounds and furnishings of Villa Turicum, the Lake Forest house of the late Mrs. Edith Rockefeller McCormick, numbered about 2,200. On the previous day, the total was 14,000. The decrease in number was attributed to the fact that admission was free on Thursday, while a charge of 50 cents per person was in effect yesterday. The remainder of the personal effects of the onetime “richest woman in the world” are to be offered at auction beginning at 2 p.m. today. The furnishings of Mrs. McCormick’s home at 1000 Lake Shore Drive and her art treasures and jewelry already have been disposed of. Proceeds of the auction are to be used in paying claims against the estate.”
The ad, that appeared in the same edition