Mills Park is a 4.43 acre of land adjacent to Oak Park Pleasant District. In the northeast corner of the park stands Pleasant Home, a National Historic Landmark designed in 1897 by noted Prairie School architect George W. Maher for investment banker and philanthropist John W. Farson. Pleasant Home is owned by the Park District of Oak Park but its operation is overseen by the Pleasant Home Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1990 dedicated to restoring, preserving, and operating this 30-room architectural landmark as an historic house museum. Visit www.pleasanthome.org for more information on Pleasant Home’s programs and events.
Mills Park carries the namesake of its second owner, Herbert S. Mills who purchased the property from John Farson’s widow in 1910. The Park District of Oak Park acquired the property in 1939. Outbuildings on the attendant grounds were subsequently razed and Mills Park has been maintained as open space since that time.
In fall 2011 a major renovation of Mills Park commenced. New accessible entrances in the historic fence (restored in 2011) opened the historic site to all, allowing greater access to the museum and park. Park improvements included paved walkways leading to and from the new entrances, a looped walking path in the northwest corner, interpretive signage, and a children’s “nature discovery” play area including a unique labyrinth using motifs from Pleasant Home. New benches, lighting and landscaping were also part of this project. Additionally, 51 shade trees, 86 ornamental trees and 7 heritage oak tree were planted throughout the parks. In 2018 the roof was replaced to match its original historic design.