Maryellen Sees America

By “The One and Only” Maryellen

My Dad brought the Airstream trailer home!  He told Mom, “All the magazines say it’s our patriotic duty as Americans to see as much as we can of this great country.”  Mom thought that cooking, cleaning, and laundering for a big family in an Airstream sounded like a lot of work, but even she enjoyed our first stop.

We visited Cantigny Park in the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois.  It’s not a park like you might see in your neighborhood… it is actually the estate of a patriotic American named Robert McCormick.  McCormick owned the famous Chicago Tribune, and WGN TV and radio.  He also fought in World War I.

Here I am in front of a mural highlighting Robert McCormick's life.

Here I am in front of a mural highlighting Robert McCormick’s life.

His house was huge!  He had lots of fancy dinner parties where he would invite celebrities, business tycoons, and farmers from the area, all at the same time.  McCormick was always looking for more information from any source to report in his paper.  If guests couldn’t hold up their end of a conversation, he would end the party and send people home.  He had an art deco movie theater right in his house.

This art deco theater feels right at home to me.

This art deco theater feels right at home to me.

This house is bigger than the Airstream, that's for sure!

This house is bigger than the Airstream, that’s for sure!

McCormick also served in World War I in the Battle of Cantigny (that’s where the name of the estate comes from).  Serving in the military affected him greatly.  After the war he never allowed smoking in his home, even though it was fashionable at the time, because he had experienced the poison gas used in WWI.

He created a huge military museum on his estate, and it includes a tank park, where you can climb on tanks used in every period of US History.


At the museum I saw a display about the “doughnut girls” in WW I.  Women served in the Salvation Army and were dispatched to the front lines where eventually they served between 2,500 – 9,000 doughnuts a day as a tangible way to give comfort to the men in the trenches.

IMG_7826If you are a fan of The Queen’s Treasures, you know about their doll clothing commemorating the “doughnut girls.”

Soon it was time to head back to the Airstream before Scooter started howling for his family.  I hope you find some places near you to learn more about famous Americans!

Quote from Maryellen’s Dad taken from book by Valerie Tripp.




14 thoughts on “Maryellen Sees America

    1. Jen Post author

      We couldn’t take a picture inside the main house (from the 1800s), but there was a portrait of his wife and her dachshund… Just like Scooter!


    1. Jen Post author

      I was going to bring Kit, but at the last moment … Maryellen! You have the same lovely name as Maryellen’s sister. Have you read Maryellen’s books featuring glamorous older sister Joan?


    1. Jen Post author

      McCormick was definitely wealthy and eccentric, and he was in the forefront of many social causes popular today including animal rights and veteran’s causes. His estate still generates 55 mil in charity I think each year, investments permitting. No children.


  1. grammagump

    I really enjoyed Maryellen’s post about her family trip to Cantigny Park. What a neat experience for her. Enjoyed the accompanying photos too. She is a lucky girl to have parents who take her to such interesting places.



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