Maureen Holtz

Allerton's Paradises

This book presents the two extraordinary estates of Robert Allerton. His Illinois home, now called Allerton Park and Retreat Center, outside of the central Illinois home of Monticello, was his first palette where he learned to mingle art and landscape architecture. His second home on Kauai allowed him to work with more sculpture and add exotic plants.

Allerton and his friends, the Winterbothams, McCormicks, Potter Palmers, and others were instrumental in ensuring that the Art Institute of Chicago became a cultural linchpin of Chicago. Through his journeys he collected many pieces of art, scattering them throughout his estates.

But it is not just in Illinois that Robert Allerton placed his mark. Kauai benefited from his generosity and that of John, his adopted son, when their estate, Lawai-Kai, became home to the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Once a retreat for Queen Emma, the 180 acres comprising the property draws children and adults on a daily basis who tour the property. National Geographic Traveler Magazine selected it as one of the "TOP 50 MUST DO" attractions in the world.

Together Robert and John left a legacy to the public: acres of sculpture gardens and nature trails in central Illinois and Hawaii, vast art collections, and an aura of mystery encompassing their private lives.

Enjoy over 100 photographs of gardens sprinkled with magnificent sculpture by world-renowned artists such as Auguste Rodin, Antoine Bourdelle, Carl Milles, Glyn Warren Philpot, Richard Kuöhl, Lily Auer, and many others.

The book also includes excerpts from Allerton's letters to a woman he loved. Enjoy this small peek into his life, his love for his property and collection of art, and even some of his farming problems to have a new appreciation for what may sit in your own backyard.

Selected Works

Fiction
Imagine what might transpire as the United States curbs healthcare coverage and a small African country legalizes physician-assisted suicide as a way to encourage medical tourism.
Non-fiction
Once Chicago’s "Richest Bachelor", colorful Robert Allerton helped further Chicago's foothold in the art world.
This collection of over 100 photographs documents Robert Allerton's imprint on his two estates.
Images of America: Monticello presents images chronicling the growth and change of this Illinois city.

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