West Park Walking Tour

Lake Forest’s West Park Neighborhood Walking Tour

West Park Walking Tour

Lake Forest, Illinois 60045, United States

Created By: LFPF

Tour Information

Walking tour created by Lake Forest Preservation Foundation


The West Park neighborhood’s dramatic history ties it to the earliest pioneer days locally, to the community’s evolution as an estate district, and to the development of Market Square, the first planned town center created for motor vehicles. Over a century after its creation in 1907, the park and neighborhood have developed much as laid out by architect and planner Howard Van Doren Shaw. The land from Westminster north to Atteridge Road was part of a pioneer cluster of farms settled in 1837 by an extended family of Methodists from Cork, Ireland—Coles, Swantons and Atteridges.

Architect Shaw developed the farms west of Green Bay Road as estates from 1907 to 1916 and then working with estate owners locally developed a park and neighborhood for young men and their families working in local businesses and professions serving the country places of the Onwentsia Club members. The first southern part was laid out prior to 1907, from Westminster north into the current parkland and including Sunset Place. Then in 1907 a group of Chicagoans active in Onwentsia and led by architect Shaw, John V. Farwell, Jr., and local developer John Griffith conceived of a plan to move quickly to secure the last open land along Green Bay Road for this park and the neighborhood. This area includes Woodland Road, the north section of Summit Avenue, the north section of Oakwood Avenue, and Atteridge Road. The lots were sold at auction in late July 1907 and could only be bought by members of the Young Men’s Club. The lots were to be paid off in five years. The Young Men’s Club clubhouse was projected on Shaw’s plan to be built on the park south of Woodland Road.

The early lot owners and soon residents of the neighborhood mostly were working locally in small businesses or in professions or public service. Descendants, who today live in the neighborhood, represent many of these. Today the neighborhood remains true to the scale and styles envisioned by planner Shaw and his reform era founders and partners. Though some of the houses have been changed and some of the lots developed later than the rest, the neighborhood overall stands as a testament to the foresight, practicality, and generosity of this City. Beautiful era group of estate community leaders on one hand and newly dedicated local residents on the other hand.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

This farmhouse has been the subject of various accounts about its origins.  As the late Rollie Griffis, great grandson of William Atteridge, explained, at one time this was the house of Sarah Brewster Hodges, who was the daughter of Walter... Read more
This red brick late Georgian style home was constructed in 1928 for Market Square merchant Stanley Kiddle, whose business there survives, though with new owners.
Scottish immigrant Alex Robertson first purchased this lot in 1907.  Robertson had lived on South Oakwood Avenue.  Robertson’s daughter married Gus Starck, who lived next door, in what originally was the home of City Clerk James King. ... Read more
This story-and-a-half cottage appears to retain its original form.  It was the home of Aberdeenshire, Scotland-born (1858) James F. King.  King, long time city clerk from the 1890’s through 1910 estate era, was an early drafter of local... Read more
This mostly original-state pre-1917 four-square variant two-story stucco house retains its screened porch, though with minor modifications since the late 1970’s.  The original lot owner was Mrs. Frank Petner.  Later owners have included... Read more
Built after 1917 and before 1924 (the year the street addresses were changed).  This is a gambrel-roofed Dutch Colonial house, in its original state, with a large second story dormer facing the street. 
1952 classic central-hall brick colonial, with a simplified broken pediment over the front door and in its original state.  Built 1951-52 from a Garling mail-order plan.  Last house built by Griffis Brothers on the street.  Home of the l... Read more
A larger two-story, central hall, four square house with a hipped roof and open front porch.  Built among the first houses circa 1907.  It was built for the father of Phil Speidel, a 1890’s pioneer and Western Avenue merchant.
Like 901 Summit Place, this 1912 home appears to be a slightly smaller version of that standard four-square variant hipped roof two-story plan.  The house was built by Speidel.  This was the Charles Kiddle home on the lot he bought in the... Read more
Pre-1917 Griffis Construction signature four-square stucco variant, with a newer replacement open front porch.  James Davidson bought the lot in 1907 and Davidson’s lived here. 
Young Men’s Club member, E. Masterson, perhaps acting for Ellen Atteridge Griffis and her spouse, Willis Griffis, Sr. purchased the lot in 1907.  The late Rollie Griffis said that his grandmother, daughter of William Atteridge whose farm... Read more
Directly across the street you can see 139 East Woodland As the Griffith, Grant and Lackie Realtors, Inc. archives show, John Gr.iffith handled the sale of this property from the builder Gustavus Anderson to Mr. and Mrs. Lewis T. Greist in ... Read more
Two-Story four-square variant, stucco entry on east side of south-facing front porch, large dormer on front hipped roof.  George Blanchard, who built the house, owned the building supply yard around the corner on Western, now Regency Row t... Read more
The two-story, four-square house was built by Griffis, according to Rollie Griffis, with the east-side one story addition designed by Jerome Cerny (see the similar bow window at Cerny’s 66 Atteridge  Road).  The resident in 1930 was Swe... Read more
1907-built four-square variant of the Prairie vernacular neighborhood type: two-story stucco with hipped roof and front dormer, enclosed front porch with south side entry.  A rear porch facing Woodland dates from the 1990’s.
Directly accross the street is 908 Oakwood Avenue.   This is a 1914 stucco four-square of the neighborhood type, owned by Walter F. Smith, who founded with his spouse, Smith’s Men’s Store.  The store passed to Walter’s son, the lat... Read more
1923 red brick and stucco, story-and-a-half bungalow, with enclosed front porch: unchanged from the late 1970’s.  The home of Leon Wells.  Wells’ grandfather came to Lake Forest to work for Jay W. Frye, a plumbing contractor who had b... Read more
1922 Craftsman style stucco two-story house, with a wood horizontal trim piece originally at the level of the top of the front second story group of windows since removed.  This would have emphasized the Prairie School character of this ho... Read more
Built in 1915, this is a multi-family in-depth variant on the four-square, hipped roof and attic dormers neighborhood standard.  In the late 1970’s it was stucco, except for a wood-frame portion in the front of the first floor.  The por... Read more
This is a 1922-built Dutch colonial wood-frame house, with a gambrel roof and a large dormer above the first floor, yielding almost a full story there.  Local builder Harold Griffis owned it: later bought by his brother Willis Griffis (pro... Read more
This 1921 Griffis built four-square central-hall two-story house, with hipped roofs with a dormer in front appears to be changed only by the substitution of shingles for stucco on the second floor.  Here lived Eva Oke (Lake Forest College,... Read more
Neighborhood Prairie vernacular standard four-square variant: two-story cement block and stucco with gabled roof.  On the west side facing Summit Avenue, this house also has a Queen Anne Gable on the third floor, with an overhang.  This o... Read more
This English Arts & Crafts two-story stucco cottage is a companion to the house at the corner of Summit Place and Woodland Rod (139 Woodland Road) which was built in 1924 by Gus Anderson. 


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