white oak Fabyan Forest Preserve

Geneva Township

1925 Batavia Ave.
Geneva, IL 60134

Boat/Canoe Launch
Shelters
Historic Sites
Fishing
Bike and Nature Trails
Hiking
Picnic Areas
Winter Activities

Preserve Map Find a Preserve
Fabyan Forest Preserve is a heavily used preserve, owing to its location on the Fox River and its numerous natural and historic features. Thousands of visitors spend hours fishing along its river shores and thousands more jog and bike along the trails and across the river bridge. Others explore the historic elements remaining in the preserve, especially the Villa Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden and the Windmill. On any given Saturday in spring summer or fall, weddings and photography sessions take place in the Garden.
 
Preserve History
Fabyan Forest Preserve was once part of the large country estate of George and Nelle Fabyan. They came to the Fox River Valley in the early 1900's, and bought a farmhouse and ten acres south of Geneva on the west bank of the Fox. Over the following 20 years they acquired 300-plus acres and developed the property into a fabulous estate they called "Riverbank". After their deaths in 1936 and 1939, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County purchased 235 acres of the estate and created the preserve.

Riverbank became a showplace in the state with its model farm, extensive greenhouses, windmill, Japanese-style and other ornamental gardens, arbors and grotto, and pools and ponds. In 1907, the Fabyans contracted Frank Lloyd Wright to redesign the farmhouse into a larger and modernized home they called "The Villa". While the Fabyans lived on the estate they employed more than 60 people in positions as maids, gardeners, chauffeurs, scientists, and farmers. They even employed a sculptor to create numerous stone and concrete fountains, statues, and furniture, as well as cages for the various wild animals the brought to Riverbank. Many of these structures remain in the preserve today. The Villa, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, is now a museum dedicated to the history of Riverbank and the story of the Fabyans, and houses their varied collections, some furnishings, and many historic photographs. The Japanese Garden has been partially restored and replanted. The Windmill, also a National Historic Place, was completely restored in 2003-4. All have public visiting hours.

Japanese Tea Garden Private Tours
This lovely oasis was originally designed in 1910 by Japanese landscape architect Taro Otsuka, as a private garden for George and Nelle Fabyan. The Garden is open to the public on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, May through mid-October. It is additionally open on Thursday afternoons, June through August. Self-guided brochures are available, with information on the site’s history and Japanese Garden theory. Private/group tours may be arranged by appointment. To schedule a private tour with Preservation Partners, please e-mail them.

Japanese Tea Garden Ceremonies or Photography
The Fabyan Japanese Garden is extremely popular for ceremonies and private photography sessions. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are set aside for these special reservations. Rentals are available in two-hour time slots. Each two-hour time slot is $200 for Kane County residents and $250 for nonresidents. You may rent more than one time slot. Forest Preserve District staff will meet parties who have reserved the garden, on site, at their rental time. Staff will unlock the gates before each rental, and relock them afterward. Part of the cost for reserving the Japanese Garden goes to fund plantings and upkeep of the garden, along with restoration of the preserves. Please be aware that Homecoming Saturdays, Prom Saturdays, and summer Saturdays are all extremely popular. Please be sure to contact the Forest Preserve District as soon as possible to make your reservation, to guarantee your time/date. To make ceremony or photography reservations for the Japanese Tea Garden, or for further information, call the District reservation line at 630-232-1242, or email us.

The Japanese Tea Garden is located in the Fabyan West Forest Preserve in Geneva, on Route 31, just north of Fabyan Parkway.

Japanese Tea Garden Hours:;
Wednesdays (May – Oct. 15): 1-4 p.m.
Thursdays (June - August): 1-4 p.m.
Sundays (May – Oct. 15): 1-4:30 p.m.

Directions
Fabyan Forest Preserve is located south of Geneva on the Fox River, with entrances on both Route 25 and Route 31, just north of Fabyan Parkway. Fabyan Parkway intersects with Kirk Rd. (same as Farnsworth Ave) and with Randall Rd.

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