Francis Park & Woodland Palace - Artist Dave Butler

(Sponsored by: City of Kewanee) Francis Park and its “Woodland Palace” became a city park in 1926, when Fred Francis, a local inventor died in 1926 and bequeathed his property to the City of Kewanee. Fred grew up on a farm east of Kewanee and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1878. A mechanical genius, he retired from the Elgin Watch Co. after only 11 years and purchased 40 acres of land 4 miles east of Kewanee where he built a home for his wife, Jenny, and himself. He called the home his “Woodland Palace” and equipped it with his own innovations including a type of baseboard heating; wind powered air conditioning, a solarium for his wife who had tuberculosis, and much more. The park is open to the public for camping and tours. Woodland Palace is a State Historic Site and on the National Register of Historic Places.