Built as a private residence in 1900, today Allerton Park & Retreat Center is a historical treasure owned by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The Mansion and Park are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and one of the American Institute of Architects’ 150 Great Places in Illinois. The Park was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1970.
Allerton is available to host a wide range of events including commercial, governmental and scholarly meetings and conferences, and student competitions. Natural areas of the Park are used by various departments within the University of Illinois as well as other universities and conservation agencies, for environmental studies and for participatory student projects. Both the Retreat Center and Park are used for wonderfully unique weddings and special events.
The grounds are open to the public and are of particular interest to scientists and naturalists (professional and amateur), hikers, and anyone who enjoys a walk outdoors. With almost 100,000 visitors each year, Allerton Park & Retreat Center is an invaluable cultural and environmental asset of the University of Illinois. It serves to bridge between the public, educational and research resources of the University faculty.
The property comprises 1,500 acres of woodland, riparian and prairie areas, a Georgian-inspired manor house and reflecting pond, several secondary lodging facilities, a 10-acre meadow, formal sculpture gardens, and interpretive and primitive hiking trails. One thousand acres of the property are designated a National Natural Landmark because of the quality of their upland and bottomland floodplain forests.
In January 2015, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved the Allerton Park Master Plan. The planning process, facilitated by RATIO Architects, occurred over a year, and included three public meetings, numerous stakeholder meetings, and University input. All of the findings and recommendations were organized and presented in a final 125-page document. This Plan will inspire a vision for conservation, appreciation, engagement, and development of Allerton’s physical property. Questions about the Master Plan can be directed to email@example.com.
For more information on the history of Allerton Park we recommend Robert Allerton: The Private Man & the Public Gifts and Allerton’s Paradises.