Explore Midwest Historic Homes and Gardens
These historic Midwest homes—built anywhere from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s—show off beautiful gardens as well as interesting house interiors.
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, Ohio
Goodyear cofounder F.A. Seiberling brought big rubber money to Akron, Ohio in the 1900s —and with it, art and culture. Today, visitors can tour Seiberling's estate, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, which includes a 65-room Tudor Revival home and 70 acres of landscaped grounds and formal gardens.
Designed between 1912 and 1915 by American landscape architect Warren Manning, the grounds are considered one of the finest remaining examples of Mr. Manning's private work in the U.S. The English Garden, redesigned by Ellen Biddle Shipman in 1929 and restored in the 1990s, is one of the only Shipman gardens open to the public. The English Garden, with 3,300 perennials and a reflecting pool, is a favorite among garden visitors. stanhywet.org
Dow Gardens, Michigan
Take the nation's longest canopy walk (1,400 feet), explore a children's garden, and tour the Dow family's 1899 home, The Pines, in Midland.
The 110-acre garden—started in 1899 by Herbert Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company, and expanded over the years— features more than 35,000 annuals as well as water features, bridges, woodlands and meadows. In summer 2021, see 30 larger-than-life floral art forms by Craig Mitchell Smith in Garden of Glass. dowgardens.org
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, Nebraska
In Nebraska City, tour the 52-room home of Arbor Day's founder, J. Sterling Morton, and explore his 72-acre estate with arboretum, Italian terraced garden, walking trails and more than 200 varieties of lilacs. outdoornebraska.gov
Glensheen Mansion, Duluth
In 1908, iron mogul Chester Congdon completed Glensheen Mansion on Lake Superior's rugged North Shore. (Ships laden with ore still chug past today, headed for Duluth's harbor and iconic Aerial Lift Bridge.) Today visitors can select one of several tours of the historic estate as well as of its 12 acres of gardens, tended by head gardener Emily Ford. glensheen.org
The Ford House, Michigan
Detroit's first family, Edsel and Eleanor Ford, raised their four children in the impressive 60-room estate and gardens along Lake St. Clair (in Grosse Pointe Shores, 15 miles northeast of Detroit).
Noted landscape architect Jens Jensen designed the house's gardens between 1926 and 1932. His naturalistic design relies on native plants and includes a rose garden, formal garden, tree-bordered meadow and flower lane. fordhouse.org
Miller House and Garden, Indiana
Columbus, Indiana businessman J. Irwin Miller started subsidizing architecturally distinct work in the 1950s. Out of his efforts grew a city that has one of America's best displays of architecture—including Miller's former home, Miller House and Garden, considered a midcentury masterpiece.
The house, completed in 1957, was designed by Eero Saarinen, and the landscape was created by Dan Kiley, who echoed the home's modernist feel with his fresh take on symmetry and geometry. discovernewfields.org
T.C. Steele State Historic Site, Indiana
Impressionist painter T. C. Steele and his wife Selma moved to scenic Brown County, Indiana, in 1907. They built a home, studio and gardens that not only inspired T.C. Steele's work but also helped turn Brown County into a thriving artists' colony.
Tours of the house give insight into the history of the area and the impact of T.C. Steele. The 211-acre grounds include 5 trails where visitors can experience the vistas and forests captured in Steele's paintings. Selma Steele's gardens also were the subject of several of her husband's paintings; the gardens were restored and rededicated in 2017. tcsteele.org
Cantigny Park, Illinois
Cantigny Park's manicured gardens, hiking trails, military museum and sprawling mansion make up the 500-acre former private estate of Chicago Tribune publisher Colonel Robert R. McCormick. Built in 1896 in Wheaton (about 30 miles west of Chicago), the house and grounds opened as a public park and museum in 1958.
McCormick House, currently closed for renovation, is expected to reopen in 2022. The gardens remain open and show off more than 160,000 annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees—one of the largest display gardens in the Midwest. A 2 ¼-mile walking trail circles the park. cantigny.org
Ward-Meade Historic Site, Kansas
The 6-acre Ward-Meade Historic Site in Topeka contains a bounty of options to explore. A 2.5-acre botanical garden features 5,000 annuals, three water gardens, and 500 varieties of trees and shrubs; it's especially known for its hosta, tulip and daylily displays.
Also on the site: The 1870s Ward-Meade House, Topeka's first mansion; and Old Prairie Town, a collection of buildings that reflect settlers' lives in the 1800s. Tour a cabin, general store, drug store, schoolhouse and more. parks.snco.us