East Lake Forest Walking Tour

Welcome to Historic East Lake Forest! This walking tour provides a glimpse of the homes, winding streets and other sites included in the historic district. Tour created by the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation. LFPF.org

East Lake Forest Walking Tour

Lake Forest, Illinois 60045, United States

Created By: LFPF

Tour Information

Tour created by Lake Forest Preservation Foundation. www.LFPF.org

The City of Lake Forest's claim to historic distinction rests on many factors both physical and social. It is a suburban town begun primarily to support the establishment of a church-related educational institution. Few suburban towns have been founded for such a purpose. A part of the present city is distinctive physically not only because of its picturesque street plan but as well because of the early date when it was laid out.

In addition, Lake Forest is also noted for the quality and character of its architecture whether erected for residential, religious, educational or public purposes. Although the names of the earliest architects working for Lake Forest clients are still largely unknown, it is probable they were among the foremost of their profession practicing in Chicago.

Noted Lake Forest architects were Charles Frost, David Adler, Stanley Anderson and Howard Van Doren Shaw. Even such well-known eastern architects as James Gamble Rogers and Charles Platt were called upon to design for Lake Forest clients. In short, the quality of the architecture in Lake Forest was very high indeed, and the quality of its construction equally so, if only because the clients could afford the best. It is these same factors that give Lake Forest its historical significance, that also make the estate areas of residential Lake Forest historically and visually distinctive.

The Lake Forest Preservation Foundation, founded in 1976, is dedicated to the stewardship, safeguarding, and endurance of our exceptional architectural and landscape legacy for succeeding generations, through public education, historic preservation and advocacy.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Standing in front of the Lake Forest Shop you can see Market Square which was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as the first planned shopping center in the United States. It was designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw and bu... Read more
Across the street is our train station – designed by Charles Sumner Frost and Alfred Hoyt Granger in 1899. Funds contributed by Lake Forest citizens paid for the new station, which remains true to its original architecture.  A major reha... Read more
Gorton Community Center is one of only a few privately-funded community centers in the United States and serves as a unique partnership between community volunteers and the City of Lake Forest. Adults and children find quality programs here... Read more
Just as we cross the tracks, the church on your left is the only one designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. Built in 1923, over the years several different congregations have been housed here, beginning as a Methodist church and toda... Read more
Built in 1931, the Library was the gift of the daughters of John G Shedd, president of Marshall Field and Company. It houses 128,000 items, and is one of the oldest public libraries in the state, with only 14 chartered earlier. The 1931 ar... Read more
This is the site of the “Old Hotel”, the first public building in Lake Forest. It opened in the summer of 1858, a year after Lake Forest was platted. People intending to buy lots from the Lake Forest Association stayed there while the... Read more
Looking to the south you see The History Center of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff which was formed in 1972 and moved to this current site in 2018.  The History Center building was originally home of The Church of Christ Scientist from 1949 unt... Read more
This is the site of the 1859 Slyvester Lind home which burned in 1905, though the 1859 stable survives north of the driveway on the First Presbyterian property, built by Lind himself who had been an 1830's Chicago carpenter at the dawn ther... Read more
The Presbyterian Church was founded in 1859. The current, second structure was built in 1887, designed by Cobb & Frost, Henry Ives Cobb and Charles Sumner Frost.  This church is constructed of natural spotted limestone salvaged from ... Read more
Marking the North End of the Lake Forest College Campus, The Durand Institute completed in 1892, was designed by Henry Ives Cobb who also designed several buildings for Lake Forest College in the later 1880's and early 1890's, only two of w... Read more
Built in 1860, was the home of the first mayor of Lake Forest. 
The Homestead, also built in 1860, was the home of the founder of the Presbyterian Church.  The house is built of brick with a wood exterior, called ‘lagging,’ an early attempt to make a house fireproof. ...
The chapel is an integral part of the campus and has exquisite Tiffany windows.
The Glen Rowan House was designed in 1908 by Howard Van Doren Shaw for an early social worker at Hull House. It was named for the abundant Rowan trees on the property, also known as mountain ash. The house has hosted such luminaries as Ted... Read more
Lake Forest College was founded in 1857 as Lind University. The Methodists had founded Northwestern University, and the Baptists founded the University of Chicago. Lake Forest College is the fulfillment of the dream of the Presbyterians w... Read more
The Tudor/French Normandy-style house was built in 1928 by Stanley D Anderson, the architect who also designed the Lake Forest High School, and previous Lake Forest Hospital building. The house won the historic preservation award in 2005 f... Read more
Maplewood Road had lots of small cottages lined along the road. All remaining cottages have been enlarged and renovated. This used to be the area where household servants lived in the community.  
The Charles Schweppe Estate On the lake and not visible from the street, a 1915 design of architect Frederick Perkins.  Originally 20 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms This brick Tudor-style English country house was commissioned by John G. Shedd,... Read more
The Mayflower Road Condominiums are currently located on the site of Ferry Hall, which opened its doors in September 1869 as a school intended to “complete the education of the young lady students.”  In 1888 Cobb & Frost designed a... Read more
Across the street is the entrance to Fairlawn which was built in 1923 on the site of the US Senator Charles B Farwell home, which was originally built in 1869 and had burned down in 1920.  
Forest Park Beach was incorporated into the city of Lake Forest in 1861. It is now considered a crown jewel in Lake Forest's collection of natural assets. You may walk east up the path to see Lake Michigan and the beach below. Designated as... Read more
Across the street David Adler designed this Italian Villa for Charles Pike in 1916. Pike’s father discovered Pike’s Peak. The Italian sculptures in the yard represent 10 muses and the four seasons.  It took 100 men 3 months to dig th... Read more
Across the street the Clayton Mark House was built in 1914, designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. Typical Shaw touches including baskets of fruit and flowers in concrete.  The façade features a recessed central porch supported b... Read more
The Kersey Coates Reed House is one of David Adler’s finest works finished in 1931. It is built of Pennsylvania mica stone, which has a shiny slate look rarely seen in Chicago The estate is named after its first owner, Helen Shedd Reed,... Read more
Across the street this 1936 Georgian home is the McBride House designed by Stanley D. Anderson. It’s one of the grandest of the Anderson designs.   
David Adler’s Bentley House (not visible due to the foliage) faces the lake and is directly east of its coach house. It is one of the many coach houses in Lake Forest. Screened by a unique white and dark green Dutch-style fence, the build... Read more
These imposing gates were built by the master metalworker Samuel Yellin as a memorial. The Gothic arched gates were dedicated in 1919. The 23 acre cemetery designed by William LeBaron Jenney began officially accepting burials as Lake Fore... Read more
Across the street you will see the entrance to the Lake Forest Cemetery Gatehouse on the right and the entrance to the St. Mary Cemetery on the left.  The Lake Forest Cemetery Gatehouse was built in 2000 and won a Preservation Foundation... Read more
Across the street you see the entrance to the Clarence Mitchell House built in 1928.  The current owners contacted Wrigley Field to see how they took their own ivy off the walls, restored the stadium, and put the ivy back on the walls agai... Read more
The Winter Club is a private club founded more than 100 years ago for families with children. Year around activities such as tennis, swimming, ice skating, children’s parties.
The house across the street at 461 E. Westminster was designed by Stanley Anderson in 1936 for the Richardson family.  The closet on the first floor was custom designed to store 10 bridge tables for the owners who were avid bridge players... Read more
Architect Alfred Granger designed the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2002.  
The Quinlan house was built in 1862 and was Lake Forest’s first schoolhouse. It was converted to a residence in 1867 and moved about a block to its present location in 1906.   Dr. Quinlan was the only doctor in Lake Forest from 1859 t... Read more
The statue "Friends" created 1969 by Sylvia Shaw Judson (1897-1978) was installed into the Market Square Fountain in 1982.  Sylvia while being a famous local sculptor was also the daughter of the architect of Market Square, Howard Van Dore... Read more


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