Following the Columbian Exposition of 1893, a group of artists and writers decided to remain in Chicago and continue to encourage each other's art. They chose to escape the heat and overcrowding of the city by summering at a farm in Bass Lake, Indiana until an outbreak of malaria forced them to seek a new location.
Wallace Heckman, a Chicago attorney and patron of the arts, offered the use of his Oregon, Illinois summer estate, Ganymede Farm. The art colonists visited in the summer of 1898 and entered into a lease that ran for as long as one of the founding members remained alive.
From that summer of 1898 until the death of the last member, Ralph Clarkson, in 1942, the Eagle's Nest Art Colony was a source of beauty, nature, and an endless stream of visitors.