by Carl Strang
One day last week I drove into Mayslake Forest Preserve and saw something new sticking out above the trees.
The time had come for the friary to be demolished. The building was constructed during the property’s time as a Franciscan center. On the outside it is interesting looking.
Inside, by all accounts, the friary has become rotten, deteriorated past recovery, and could be regarded as an attractive nuisance. Demolition is beginning with the outbuildings.
I have not heard how the land is to be restored once the building is gone. Naturally I will follow that with interest. The friary was housing a raccoon, and during the breeding season its walls supported nests for a pair of eastern phoebes and a few chimney swifts. Whatever habitat replaces the friary will be home to a greater diversity of life.
There has been some confusion. The friary is not the Peabody mansion or the retreat wing which the Franciscans appended to the mansion. It is not the chapel. Those buildings all are safe, and much in demand for Forest Preserve District programs as well as rentals.