April 30 through May 22, 2011

In 1916, railroad baron Darius Miller commissioned renowned architect Howard Van Doren Shaw to build his twenty-five room home on  nineteen acres in Lake Forest. Landscape architect Jens Jensen was retained to design the impressive grounds, and the result was Thorndale Manor, an extraordinary home that calls to mind a different era.

The stately formal rooms of the Manor house overlook the beautiful gardens and speak to an era of grand entertaining. The scenic grounds are not to be missed.


The home still retains all of its original architectural details. Mr. Shaw’s trademark baskets of flowers and fruit highlight the iron and stone work that surround the house. The manor house features 25 rooms, 6 bedrooms and 5.5 baths.

The charming coach house, also included on the tour, features 5,500 square feet of living space, living room, formal dining room, 5 bedrooms, and a beautiful courtyard overlooking expansive gardens and grounds.

Thorndale Manor has been chosen as the 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens and the site of the INFANT WELFARE SOCIETY OF CHICAGO’S Centennial “Celebrate the Children” evening event. The Manor and Coach House will feature more than 43 interior and landscape designers.  

Every other year since 1985, the Lake Forest Auxiliary Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, founded in 1926, has hosted a nationally recognized designer Showhouse & Gardens in Lake Forest, Illinois. We are proud of the stellar quality of interior and landscape designers who represent our homes. As a result, throughout the three-week period the house is open to the public, we attract as many as 10,000 guests.  More than $2.5M has been raised from this prestigious event to provide monies to support the services of the Infant Welfare Society Clinic.


Photograph 1 by John S. Eckert

Photograph 2 by Dan Bell

Photograph 3 by Showhouse Photographer

Thorndale Manor & Coach House History

2011 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens

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