Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tinker Swiss Cottage

We visited the Tinker Swiss Cottage in Rockford this summer. Robert Hall Tinker (1836-1924), a Rockford businessman and mayor (1875), built this Swiss-style "cottage" on a limestone bluff overlooking Kent Creek in Rockford in 1865 after an 1862 tour of Europe. Tinker's family were the only occupants of the house (75 years), and they left it to the Rockford Park District, of which Tinker was a founding member. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1943.

We went on a Saturday afternoon in June and got a guided tour of the house. Admission was $6/person. We took lots of photos, but here are some highlights. 

Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford
View of the house from the front

In the sunroom

Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford
A bench made of tree roots

Several pieces of furniture in the house were made from tree roots.


Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford
Dining Room
Most of the walls and ceilings are covered in wood panels (real wood, not veneer), with hand-painted or burned designs and mini-murals (you can see an example on the wall in the photo above and the hand-painted border near the ceiling in the photo below). There are also several pieces of art. Tinker was also an artist, so he did a lot of the artwork in the house.

Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford


Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford
Spiral staircase in the library
We really liked the library. It was kind of small and octagonal-shaped, with two stories of books and other artifacts. Jennifer's favorite part (besides the books, of course) was the spiral staircase.


Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford
Master Bedroom entry
There are also several other rooms and a basement, which includes a study, pantry, and laundry facility.


Wrap-around Porch

The porch goes almost all the way around the house. Our moms would love it.


Ed & Jennifer standing on the suspension bridge over Kent Creek
We crossed the suspension bridge over Kent Creek to take some photos from the back side of the house. There were also some flower gardens on the other side.


Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford
View from the back (limestone bluff and creek below house)

Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford

Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford

Tinker Swiss Cottage Rockford
(Ed takes the best photos!)
Well, that was just a brief description of our visit. There's much more to see. So, whenever you're in town, if they're open and the weather's nice, maybe we can take you there.

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