In 1946, legendary philanthropist Robert Allerton gave 1600 acres of his estate to the University of Illinois, including natural areas, formal gardens, his private residence and a portion of farmland. In the preceding 50 years, Allerton had restored woodlands, natural areas, and prairies and created the formal gardens based on the belief that through nature, art could embrace and surround every human.
In 2014, the University sought a master plan to guide anticipated future renovation, restoration and development to meet identified program needs.
The Allerton Park & Retreat Center Master Plan provides a roadmap for orderly and sustainable growth, including phasing recommendations, high-level cost estimates and fund raising materials.
A major goal of the Master Plan is to assist the University in integrating existing and proposed functions of the park into a cohesive and prioritized plan, organized around four main components: the Gardens, the Natural Areas, the Mansion and the Infrastructure.