OverviewFamily HistoryMain HouseAccommodationsSt. John the Baptist ChapelEventsToursElkhart Grove Forest PreserveOld Kentucky House TavernAttractionsPhoto GalleryContact UsOld Gillett Farm - Elkart, Illinois

This historic seventh generation family farm is located on Elkhart Hill (the highest point between Chicago and St. Louis). Still owned by the descendents of John Dean Gillett, who built the original house and barns in 1870, this beautiful farm encompasses 700 acres of lawns, gardens, woodlands and open fields. In addition to the main house, a 3-bedroom guesthouse and chapel are available for private bookings. Overnight accommodations, special events, weddings and tours are arranged on an individual basis.

Here history lies undisturbed. Indian burial mounds and rare botanical species are protected in the unique virgin woodland comprising the Elkhart Grove Forest Preserve. Walking trails wind among ancient Blue Ash, Burr Oak and Black Walnut trees. Cattle graze the hillside pastures, horses are stabled in the orignial barns where "Graceland Arbians" began thier breeding operation in the 1970's. Descendents of John Dean Gillett still reside in the “Big House” where generations of original furnishings and memorabilia reflect the family's history. Sloping lawns and perennial gardens frame the hilltop's spectacular Vista, which stretches for miles in all directions. At the time of his death John Dean Gillett owned 20,000 acres that he could survey from the vantage point of his front porch.

Well-known visitors to the farm included Abraham Lincoln, who was a personal friend and family lawyer of the Gilletts, 3 term governor of Illinois Richard J. Oglesby (who married the oldest Gillett daughter) and Adlai Stevenson, a friend of Elizabeth Drake (great grand-daughter of Gillett) and her husband William Drake from the Drake Hotel family in Chicago. Adlai wrote one of his presidential campaign speeches on the porch of the Big House, claiming that the peaceful setting cleared his thoughts and the view inspired his words. Today's visitors often express the same sentiments as they experience the magic of this very special place.

Main House - Click for Larger View

Main House Entrance - Click for Larger View

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