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Dan and Ada Rice

Daniel F. Rice (1896–1975) and his wife Ada L. Rice (1899–1977) were American businesspeople, thoroughbred racehorse owners and breeders, and philanthropists. Dan Rice was educated in the public school system of Chicago, Illinois]] and spent two years at Depaul University and the University of Notre Dame. In 1919, he founded his own commodity brokerage, Daniel F. Rice and Company. His company became successful over the 35 years that he ran it. The company merged with Hayden, Stone & Co. in 1960. Rice later ran Rice Grain Corporation.

Dan Rice and his wife, Ada, contributed to many charities and organizations and created the Rice Foundation which is still running today. The Rice Foundation gives contributions to places that the Rices believed in such as programs to prevent child abuse and for many research areas such as plant development and preservation, medical advancement and animal conservation. Additionally, the Foundation supports the arts such as the Chicago History Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and other museums.

Because the Rices were widely respected for their extensive philanthropies in the Chicago area, a number of places are named in their honor in the region. The combination of their first names formed Danada and appears in many places in Wheaton.


Thoroughbred racing

In 1929 the Rices bought a 152-acre (0.62 km2) farm located south of Wheaton which became named Danada Farms. Their house was located across from the farm and later was named Danada House which now is a museum and a place for social functions. It can house about 150 people for a party. Mrs. Rice was known to throw lavish parties at the house. Danada House is a 19-room estate that contains gardens, a greenhouse, a swimming pool, porch and atrium. Danada Farms had corn, wheat, sheep, hogs, cattle, chickens, turkeys and an apple orchard. Over the years the farm grew to over 1,350 acres (5.5 km2). The couple loved Thoroughbred horse racing and built a Kentucky-style stable that could hold 25 horses. A half-mile training track, which included a 4-position electronic starting gate, was built across the street from the stables. Later, a tunnel was built under Naperville Road for the horses to safely get to the stables. The track, starting gate, and tunnel still exist today.

In 1946, they acquired a part of the Idle Hour Stock Farm near Lexington, Kentucky that was also given the Danada name. Mr. and Mrs. Rice bred horses on the farm, and raced them exclusively under her name. In 1965, one of their colts, Lucky Debonair, won the Kentucky Derby. Heavily involved in the sport of thoroughbred horse racing, Dan Rice was a member of the Board of Directors of Arlington Park Racetrack.

In addition to the sport of horse racing, in the latter part of the 1940s Dan Rice was a shareholder in the Los Angeles Dons of the newly-formed All-America Football Conference.

Contributions to organizations

In 1947, Dan Rice set up the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation. In the next forty years, the foundation made $12.4 million through 1,257 grants. As of 1988, the Rice Foundation had accumulated over $60 million. This money was donated to worthy causes such as endangered species, programs for abused children and medical researchto support further advancement in areas such as rare illnesses and diseases. Dan and Ada Rice donated $10 million to the Art Institute of Chicago, $3 million to the Shedd Aquarium, $2 million to the Chicago Historical Society and $100,000 to the Boy Scouts of America for a camping facility for handicapped Scouts. Additionally, the Rice Foundation contributed to the Morton Arboretum to support the growth and research of elm trees and as a result a hybrid of an elm tree is named for them, the Danada Charm. Not only did the Rices donate money but they also donated land. They gave about 19 acres (77,000 m2) for the Illinois Institute of Technologycampus and 13 acres (53,000 m2) to the Wheaton Park District for a water park and community center.


Places in Wheaton are named Danada and Rice because they lie on the former Danada Farm land. These places are Danada East and West Shopping Centers, Danada North, West and East subdivisions, Danada Woods subdivision, Danada Forest Preserve, Danada Equestrian Center, Danada House, Rice Lake, Rice Pool and Water Park, Rice Lake Square, the Illinois Institute of Technology‎'s Rice Campus and until recently, Rice Lake Theater, which has closed.

The following places in the Chicago metropolitan area have benefited from the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation.

Chicago Botanic Garden </dt>

The Botanic Garden is located on 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL houses the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Resource Center.

The Chicago History Museum was formerly named the Chicago Historical Society before its recent renovation. The museum contains over 22 million items in its collections. The exterior facade of the new Museum on Clark Street proudly and prominently honors the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Pavilion. </dt>
The Art Institute of Chicago holds famous collections such as the French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work, a Surrealist Collection and many more. The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building is part of the museum. </dt>
The Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois </dt>

The Children's Home and Aid Society has several locations that provide services such as adoption, foster care, education, counseling, and child abuse prevention. The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Child and Family Center is located in Evanston and provides counseling, therapy, art therapy, pet therapy and psycho educational groups.

The Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield houses the Daniel F. and Ada L Rice Conservation and Biology Research Center. This center contains a molecular genetics laboratory that conducts tests to analyze species and subspecies. Additionally, the lab conducts research to promote conservation. Brookfield Zoo is one of a very few zoos in the world to contain a facility to conduct molecular genetic analyses. </dt>
The Field Museum </dt>

The Field Museum located on 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, IL contains exhibits about endangered species, ancient civilizations, fossils, hand-on exhibits and many more. The Dan F. and Ada L. Rice Gallery continually changes its exhibits depending on what the current theme of the exhibits are.

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, one of the rehabilitation hospitals in the country, treats a range of conditions including cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, stroke and traumatic brain injury, arthritis, chronic pain and sports injuries. The hospital contains the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Patient Treatment Center. </dt>
The John G. Shedd Aquarium </dt>

The Shedd Aquarium which is located on 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL contains exhibits with sharks, dolphins, penguins, fish and many more aquatic animals. The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Pool, Amphitheater and Underwater Viewing Gallery or the Oceanarium contains 3 million gallons of salt water and houses dolphins, otters and penguins.

The Lyric Opera of Chicago </dt>

The Lyric Opera is located on 20 North Wacker Drive in Chicago, IL. It has hosted visiting opera and dance companies, touring operettas, musical shows, and many orchestral, dance and vocal concerts. In 1994, the foyer containing Australian crystal chandeliers and elaborate stenciled ceilings was named the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand foyer.

Benedictine University </dt>

Benedictine University is located at 5700 College Road, Lisle, IL. The Dan and Ada Rice Center is used for all indoor athletic events. The Center contains a multi-purpose floor for basketball and volleyball, swimming pool, weight training equipment, racquetball courts, and the Trophy Room. The Trophy Room contains the honors and awards of Dan and Ada Rice including the victory racing plates worn by Lucky Debonair, winner of the 1965 Kentucky Derby.


  • Anderson, Jon. "Patrons Par Excellence: The Rice name is built into Chicago culture." Chicago Tribune 18 October 1988: 5.
  • Knutson, Katie. "A Legacy Lives On." The Sun 5 April 2002: Around Town.
  • Moore, Jean, and Hiawatha Bray. DuPage at 150 and Those Who Shaped Our World. Chicago: West Chicago Printing Company, 1989.


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