Take a Step Back in Time This Weekend

July 29, 2011

There’s a birthday party on Saturday for the man responsible for the addition of a historic piece of Chicago real estate to our skyline. Of course, he won’t be there.

tribune tower

The iconic Tribune Tower

Cantigny Park in Wheaton, which this man also helped establish, will celebrate the 131st birthday of Col. Robert R. McCormick on Saturday with free activities, demonstrations and food.

McCormick, who was born on July 30, 1880, was editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune for 44 years. He expanded the Tribune business by forming WGN radio in 1924 and built the historic Tribune Tower in 1925.

A one-time politician, McCormick served in the Illinois National Guard in 1915 and was a Colonel in the First Infantry Division during World War I.

McCormick was also a gentleman-farmer who operated the Tribune Experimental Farms in Wheaton and Yorkville, and influenced the creation of the now-gone Meigs Field.

Robert R. McCormick

When he died, his will established the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which certified Cantigny as a public park. Today, the foundation is one of the nation’s largest public charities and has granted more than $1 billion to organizations in local communities across the country.

McCormick Day will celebrate the legacy of this important Chicagoan, and will have a special emphasis on his life at Cantigny, a 500-acre working farm where the colonel lived from 1920 until he died in 1955.

This free event will feature:

the mccormick mansion

The McCormick Mansion

*A Robert R. McCormick Museum open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., where you can see the home in which McCormick lived.

*A chance to experience Cantigny as a working farm and meet some of its animals.

*Ice cream making (and sampling!) on the South Lawn at 10:30 a.m.

*A butter making activity at 1 p.m.

*Target practice with the water balloon cannon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

*19th century games in Parade Field

*Plus arts & crafts, an appearance by the German Shepherd Dog Training Club of Chicago and more.

At noon, there will be a cake cutting ceremony in the Visitors Center, where participants can enjoy free cake. At 3 p.m., the event will conclude with a wreath laying at the Exedra, the final resting spot of McCormick and his first wife, Amy.

Oh, Amy will be at the party, by the way.

The entire day is free, and the usual $5 fee the park charges will be waived.

What: McCormick Day to celebrate Robert R. McCormick’s birthday

When: Saturday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton

More: Visit cantigny.org for more information

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