The Fabyan Villa was the home of Colonel George and Nelle Fabyan from 1905-1939. Riverbank, the name they bestowed upon their property, was initially a country retreat from their home in Chicago. They hired Frank Lloyd Wright in 1907 to enlarge and re-model the existing farmhouse and shortly thereafter took up permanent residence at the Villa, as they called their home. They acquired 300 acres, creating a country estate which soon became a lavish showplace complete with fountains, gardens, a Roman-style swimming pool, a Dutch-style windmill, a private zoo, a working lighthouse, a boathouse, tennis courts, and more. The Fabyans pursued their varied interests on their estate, including horticulture, animal husbandry, and scientific research.
When visiting the Villa Museum, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you will discover the Fabyans’ uniquely fascinating legacy. The Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie-style house contains the Fabyans’ private collection of Asian artifacts, natural history specimens, original furniture and more! Documents and photographs detail George’s involvement in the Treaty of Portsmouth and Japanese international relations, the Bacon/Shakespeare controversy, code-breaking that significantly influenced both World Wars and pioneering research and development in acoustics. The captivating combination of significant architecture, military intrigue, Japanese culture and personal exploration makes the Fabyan Villa Museum a unique experience for all ages.