Botanical Garden, History, Historic House
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.