Whether I’m traveling or exploring my own neighborhood, I love to seek out historic homes. Maybe it’s a curiosity to discover how other people once lived. Or maybe it’s the simple desire to peek inside an elaborate house. Regardless of the reason, I always find myself drawn to old homes, and the Tinker Swiss Cottage is one of the most unique I’ve ever visited.
This ornate 27-room cottage was built in the 1860s on the limestone bluffs overlooking Rockford, Illinois’ Kent Creek. From the outside it’s easy to see the detailed Swiss influence on the home, but once inside the design is even more delightful and inspiring. What began as a one-room cabin has since evolved into a sprawling mansion with elaborate woodwork, hand painted murals, and an incredibly rich history.
During our visit we were lucky enough to receive a delightful tour from the cottage’s Executive Director Steve Litteral. Not only is Steve extremely knowledgeable about the home and its former residents, but he is also one of the funniest tour guides I’ve ever met. It was wonderful addition to my time in Rockford to spend a few hours exploring this unique home and learning about one of the most influential families in the community’s local history.