Peabody Mansion (Mayslake Estate)
Copyright, Miami Paranormal Research Society
Jack Stuyvesant Peabody was an acclaimed photographer. The prestigious Stuyvesant Peabody award in recognition of photographic excellence is given in his honor.
Mr. Peabody’s father was a well respected Chicago attorney. Francis, was educated at Yale University and had intended to practice law like his father.
However, Francis Peabody founded the Peabody Coal company in 1880. As the owner of the Peabody Coal company in Illinois, he and his family accumulated a vast fortune. Peabody Coal was the largest producer of coal in the United States.
In 1919, Mr. Peabody had acquired eight hundred acres of land in Oakbrook Illinois, Dupage county and began construction of his enormous thirty-nine room Tudor Gothic style mansion. The estate is located at 1717 W 31st street.
The Peabody’s lived an extravagant lifestyle and threw lavish galas for their guests at the estate. The day of August 27, 1922, marked the completion of Mayslake estate. To celebrate this accomplishment, Mr. Peabody held a fox hunt for his guest. Sadly, this celebration turned into tragedy, as Mr. Peabody suffered a fatal heart attack during the event. Mr. Peabody was dead at age sixty-three. At the time of his death, he possessed a fortune of over seventy-five million dollars.
The Peabody mansion, or Mayslake as it was officially named, was always a getaway for Chicago’s elite, who indulged in extravagant parties and even horse shows here.
The horse farm on the estate boasted a sixty building complex, there were also seven houses which were occupied by Peabody’s employees, several conservatories, an outdoor theater and a gatehouse. During the construction of the mansion, it is said that Peabody resided in the gatehouse with his wife and two children.
It is Mr. Peabody’s tomb that is at the center of the legends. Mr. Peabody was buried somewhere on the grounds of Mayslake estate. There are also the legends that Peabody was buried in a glass casket filled with formaldehyde or oil to prevent his remains from decomposing.
The exact location has been subject of great speculation. No one has ever managed to locate his tomb. I have theorized that Mr. Peabody was buried beneath the Portiuncula Chapel alter. The chapel is a replica of the Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, Italy. The chapel is still operational and weddings are still conducted there.
In 1974, the chapel was relocated along with the remains of Mr Peabody. He was re-interred between the chapel and the Stations of the Cross wall that was built by the Franciscans. There Mr. Peabody rested until 1992 when the estate was sold to the DuPage Forest Preserve District. In fact, Mr. Peabody had plenty of company on the Peabody estate grounds.
Just where are Mr. Peabody’s remains? In 1992, the remains of Jack and Francis Peabody were moved, along with the bodies of the friars in 1992 to Queen of Heaven Cemetery, located in Hillside Illinois.
Regardless of the location of his final resting place, the plethora of ghostly tales arising from this mansion, are centered upon the location of the Peabody Tomb and the legend that still exists that he is still buried on the Mayslake grounds.
In March 1924, Peabody’s heirs sold the estate to Franciscan monks for around 450,000. The monks have had their hands full trying to keep trespassers from the property, who had come in search of Peabody’s tomb. No one has ever been able to find it and legends tell that the casket is guarded by ghostly monks. If you are caught they will make you kneel in prayer and some are convinced that many would be tomb raiders have never made it back from Peabody Mansion.