History & Mission
Located in Wheaton, Illinois, Cantigny Park is the 500-acre former estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune.
Discover the Gift of a Lifetime
Robert R. McCormick, born in 1880, lived on the grounds from the 1920s until his death in 1955. Cantigny is open to the public and part of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, a nonprofit public charity based in Chicago. It was named after a small village in France, where Colonel McCormick commanded an artillery battalion in 1918 as a member of the U.S. Army’s First Division. The Battle of Cantigny was America’s first victory in World War I.
Robert R. McCormick died in 1955 at age 74. His will established the Robert R. McCormick Charitable Trust and designated Cantigny as a public space for education and recreation. This extraordinary gift, now part of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, enriches our community every day and is enjoyed by more than 300,000 visitors each year. We invite you to enjoy the Colonel’s gift! Visit Cantigny Park and walk through history, enjoy nature, and create lasting family memories.
Cantigny Park opened to the public in 1958. It is home to:
- The Robert R. McCormick Museum, a historic house museum interpreting the life and legacy of the Colonel. The mansion reveals the public and private sides of one of America’s wealthiest and most philanthropic families.
- The First Division Museum, dedicated to the history of the Big Red One, the famed 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Many exhibits are interactive and all of them provide fascinating insights about America’s military, past and present.
- Cantigny Gardens, created in 1967 by renowned landscape architect Franz Lipp. Nearly 30 acres of formal gardens, theme plantings and statuary render exceptional beauty in all seasons.
- Visitors Center, featuring a popular scale model of the estate, 100-seat theater with welcome film, Le Jardin at Cantigny Park (restaurant and banquet hall), Bertie’s Café and the Cantigny Shop.
- Education Center, a prairie-style building opened in 2010 that serves as the hub for more than 300 children’s programs, youth group activities, Golden Oak Club meetings (for seniors), fitness classes, horticulture workshops, art classes and more.
- Walking Trails (nearly 3 miles) and spacious Picnic Area.
- Cantigny Golf, designed by Roger Packard and opened for play in 1989. The 300-acre complex includes 27 scenic holes, the year-round Cantigny Golf Academy, the 9-hole Cantigny Youth Links and a full-service clubhouse with dining and banquet facilities.
Throughout the year, Cantigny is host to numerous special events, concerts, weddings, museum tours, lectures, horticulture workshops, fitness classes and more. Park hours, directions and a calendar of upcoming events are online here at Cantigny.org. This website also offers a short video highlighting Cantigny’s heritage and permanent attractions.
Cantigny (can*TEE*nee or can*TIG*nee)
While many people call the park can-TIG-nee, the proper pronunciation is Can-TEE-nee. The word is French and the ‘g’ is silent.
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, based in Chicago, was established as a charitable trust in 1955 upon the death of its namesake benefactor. It is a nonprofit public charity committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Operations include five program areas focused on early childhood education, journalism, civics, communities and veterans, plus the Freedom Express mobile museum and Cantigny Park. Since its inception, the McCormick Foundation has granted more than $1.4 billion to deserving agencies in Chicago, the state of Illinois and communities across the country.