An excerpt from a recent Chicago Tribune article:
This is the first exhibit at The Grove to focus on Kennicott, the patriarch of the family. His son, Robert, had been The Grove's focus for many years, Swanson said, having founded the Chicago Academy of Sciences, served as a Smithsonian scientist and been the first naturalist for the state of Illinois. He was also one of four principal people to purchase Alaska from Russia.
"Dr. Kennicott has really been kind of eclipsed by him," said Swanson. "But we decided we really wanted to look at Dr. Kennicott's life and all his achievements."
Kennicott, who was born in 1802 in New York, became one of the area's first physicians when he came to Glenview, then called West Northfield, in 1836. He started The Grove Nursery & Garden in 1842 and called for the first Illinois State Fair in 1853.
Kennicott also had national reach. He lobbied for a federal agricultural bureau, now the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and went to Washington to petition for the Land Grant College Act.
He helped draft a bill in the state legislature to create an "Illinois university."
"If you got to any of the A&M universities, those are agricultural and mechanical universities, they're a direct result of the Land Grant College Act and he was the principal person that moved that act forward and was passed by U.S. House of Representatives and Senate," Swanson said.Learn more at the Tribune and The Grove National Historic Landmark.