SAVANNA, Ill. — Alan St. George sees his late wife, Adrianne, in every room of their home, both figuratively and literally.
A person walking through Havencrest Castle sees the couple’s face and form peering at him or her from statues, paintings and even fine china. St. George has drawn and sculpted his love for Adrianne into every corner of his home. Now members of the public will have a chance to witness it.
This month, St. George has opened the castle, located in Savanna, to tours for an admission of $20. The tour lasts 2 and 1/2 hours and winds through many of the 63 rooms in the estate.
“It was kind of just our creative outlet, I guess you could say. We never had children and the house was kind of like our baby,” said St. George about all of the work and additions the couple made to the mansion. “We really poured it from ourselves”
Francis and Margaret Greenleaf built the home between 1899 and 1901. The St. George’s purchased it in in 1976 and decided to expand on its 22 rooms.
“We kind of made it our mission statement that we wanted to recreate not only the house, but the lifestyle of the American aristocracy. So we were looking back to the gilded age; the fantasy gold age” St. George said.
The additions focused on public bedrooms, with very few bedrooms in the house. St. George said his wife loved to host and entertain people.
“So we were creating a house where that was possible. Lots of public rooms to entertain,” St. George said.
The couple designed and created every detail of the many themed rooms in both the original and new sections of the home. Visitors to the castle can see the Chinese Tea Room, the Ivory Tower Chapel, a conservatory, a Fragonard music room, an 80-foot-long Medieval hall and many others. The words “Semper Nos,” meaning “always us” — the couple’s motto — adorn paintings, statues and doorways.