Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens

411 Kent st., Rockford, IL 61102 - United States

815-964-2424

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Robert Tinker's inspiration for the Cottage came during his tour of Europe in 1862, where he fell in love with the architecture of Switzerland. In 1865, Robert began building his Swiss Cottage on the limestone bluff overlooking Kent Creek.

Robert surrounded his Swiss Cottage with over 27 acres of trees, vines, winding pathways, flowerbeds, and gardens. A three-story Swiss inspired barn was added to the property which housed cows, chickens, and horses.

On the side of the Cottage, Robert constructed a suspension bridge crossing the Kent Creek. This bridge linked the Cottage with his wife's, Mary Dorr Manny Tinker, limestone mansion and grounds. In 1906, the railroad bought the remainder of Mary's estate. At the end of Robert's suspension bridge, he planted elaborate gardens deemed the Railroad Gardens where passengers could stroll as they waited for the train.

The Tinker family, the sole occupants of the Swiss Cottage, left their home to the Rockford Park District and their household belongings to trustees after seventy-five years of residence. Filled with original furnishings, artwork, diaries, clothing and household items, the Cottage is a rich time capsule of life during the Victorian Era. The Cottage is also one of only a handful of Swiss-style homes remaining in the United States.

In 1943, Tinker Swiss Cottage opened to the public as a Museum and is supported in part, by the Rockford Park District

Exhibits

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