History Center of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff

History Center of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff The History Center of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff connects people and inspires curiosity by exhibiting, preserving, sharing and celebrating history.
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We are the Historical Society for the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities in Illinois. Our organization was founded in 1972, and we have been at our current location since 1998. We create exhibits, sponsor public programs, facilitate research, and collect and preserve items that tell our community's story.

Operating as usual

Creating a Vision: Narcissa Niblack Thorne constructed the meticulously-crafted and thoughtfully furnished period rooms,...
01/17/2021

Creating a Vision: Narcissa Niblack Thorne constructed the meticulously-crafted and thoughtfully furnished period rooms, known as the Thorne Rooms, housed at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her scale of one inch to the foot became the norm for miniature work.

Narcissa Thorne was passionate about collecting miniatures and oversaw skilled artisans that helped produce historically correct objects for her period rooms and dioramas. Thorne rooms gained attention at the 1933-34 Chicago Century of Progress and at the 1939 and 1940 World’s Fairs in San Francisco and New York. The rooms traveled the country.

Narcissa Thorne resided in Lake Forest on Ridge Road with her husband James Ward Thorne, an heir to the Montgomery Ward department store family, and two sons Ward and Niblack.

Image source: The Art Institute of Chicago

Learn more about Narcissa Thorne and other LFLB Change Makers at http://bit.ly/2XOdhA6

Tell us about a local Change Maker whom you know and admire! Email photos and text to Curator Laurie Stein at [email protected]. We'd love to share their story.

#100YearsAgoToday Lake Forest resident Charles Siegel was the lucky winner in a fundraising raffle held by several local...
01/17/2021

#100YearsAgoToday Lake Forest resident Charles Siegel was the lucky winner in a fundraising raffle held by several local American Legion Posts - his prize was a 1920 five-passenger automobile, produced by the Lansing, Michigan-based Reo Motor Car Company. (REO stood for founder Ransom E. Olds, who had earlier established the better-known Oldsmobile.)

Charles Siegel was a veteran himself, having served as a private in the 33rd Infantry in World War I. He worked in the heating plant at Lake Forest College. Siegel resided at the corner of Westminster and Oakwood, with his German-immigrant parents Andrew (a barber) and Frederica Siegel.

(The joke at the end of the article refers to Chicago Tribune cartoons drawn by Sidney Smith. One of his characters, a goat dressed as a doctor named Old Doc Yak, had a car with the number ‘348’ on the grill, because he’d purchased it for $3.48 - not exactly a luxury vehicle. Later Smith/Doc Yak gave this car to Andy Gump of the long-running “The Gumps” strip. The number 348 was Charles Siegel’s lucky raffle ticket.)

Lake Forest's First Physician: In 1846, Dr. Charles H. Quinlan achieved fame as the first Midwestern physician to admini...
01/16/2021

Lake Forest's First Physician: In 1846, Dr. Charles H. Quinlan achieved fame as the first Midwestern physician to administer anesthesia, during an amputation performed at Rush Medical College. He produced the sulphuric ether using instructions sent to him by his uncle in Buffalo, NY. The success of this experiment granted Quinlan greater renown, and his practice increased accordingly. He studied for a degree in medicine at Rush Medical College, eventually earning his M.D. in 1865.

Among his many contributions to our city, Dr. Quinlan was one of 24 voters who approved Lake Forest’s charter in 1861 and the only practitioner of medicine and dentistry in Lake Forest in the 1860s.

To learn more about Charles H. Quinlan and other LFLB Change Makers visit http://bit.ly/35MtXMM

Tell us about a local Change Maker whom you know and admire! Email photos and text to Curator Laurie Stein at [email protected]. We'd love to share their story.


Dr. Quinlan’s fingerprints are all over the shaping of early Lake Forest. At that time, Quinlan was elected the first city treasurer. He also served on Lind (later Lake Forest) University’s first board of trustees. A founding elder of First Presbyterian Church, Quinlan was the first Sunday School superintendent and even sold the church the land on which the present building stands. Certainly not least among his contributions,

A devastating fire in 1869 ravaged the Quinlan home on Deerpath. The family rebuilt the house and sold it. In 1874 Dr. Quinlan acquired a hotel in Evanston at the northeast corner of Chicago Avenue and Davis Street, which he called the Avenue House. The next year, the Quinlans relocated to Evanston.

#100YearsAgoToday An accident was averted at the Chicago and North Western railroad crossing in south Lake Forest, near ...
01/16/2021

#100YearsAgoToday An accident was averted at the Chicago and North Western railroad crossing in south Lake Forest, near the former site of Barat College. A load of lumber spilled off the back of transport driver Stephen Sutton’s truck as he bumped over the grade at the crossing. Fortunately, with the help of workers from the Sacred Heart station, the lumber was removed in time for the upcoming express train to pass.

#100YearsAgoToday Locals looking for blocks of ice to cool their ice boxes had to set their sights further north in 1921...
01/15/2021

#100YearsAgoToday Locals looking for blocks of ice to cool their ice boxes had to set their sights further north in 1921, or else settle for the artificial cold stuff. Ice houses in the northwestern lakes region of Lake County bemoaned the lack of subzero temperatures, noting that lake ice had not frozen to a sufficient thickness for cutting.

The winter of 1920-1921 was actually a season of record-setting warmth for the Chicago area, according to weather.gov. The year 1921 was one of a very few in the last two centuries without any recorded temperatures below zero - the lowest the thermometer dipped was 8. It also was one of our area’s lowest total snowfalls, with only 9.8 inches measured during the season.

Setting the Bar Higher: Sarah Spain, a Lake Forest High School alum, is a Peabody Award-winning radio host, TV personali...
01/15/2021

Setting the Bar Higher: Sarah Spain, a Lake Forest High School alum, is a Peabody Award-winning radio host, TV personality and writer. Her broadcast highlights include co-hosting "Chicago's Best" on WGN, Sportscenter Anchor & Reporter for ESPN 1000 in Chicago, one half of the national “Spain and Fitz” ESPN radio show, writer for espnW.com, host of ESPN’s “That’s What She Said” podcast, and a regular panelist on “Around The Horn” TV show on ESPN.

To learn more about Sarah and other LFLB Changemakers visit http://bit.ly/3bDM4YT

Tell us about a local Change Maker whom you know and admire! Email photos and text to Curator Laurie Stein at [email protected]. We'd love to share their story.

#100YearsAgoToday The Young Men’s Club faced the 1921 equivalent of an internet outage taking down Netflix, when its mot...
01/14/2021

#100YearsAgoToday The Young Men’s Club faced the 1921 equivalent of an internet outage taking down Netflix, when its motion picture show was derailed by a broken bearing in the projector.

Father of Naval Aviation: William Moffett was commander of Great Lakes Naval Training Station during WWI and instituted ...
01/14/2021

Father of Naval Aviation: William Moffett was commander of Great Lakes Naval Training Station during WWI and instituted flight training programs for the new technology of airplanes. As Rear Admiral, Moffett became the first director of the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics. He not only pushed for full integration of airplanes into naval operations but successfully secured funding from Congress for the development of modern aircraft and engines.

Under Moffett’s leadership, naval aviation expanded exponentially, with aircraft carriers joining the fleet in the 1920s. His work earned him the title of "Father of Naval Aviation."

Moffett, his wife Jeanette, and their five children lived at 524 Sheridan in Lake Forest and Moffett continued to have a Lake Forest home even after his tour at Great Lakes ended.

To learn more about Admiral William Moffett and other LFLB Change Makers visit http://bit.ly/39wEyfW

Tell us about a local Change Maker whom you know and admire! Email photos and text to Curator Laurie Stein at [email protected]. We'd love to share their story.

Time for another #captionthis
01/13/2021

Time for another #captionthis

#100YearsAgoToday Thomas Henry Plimmer took the “helm” at the Rosenthal and Helming market in Lake Bluff, the current si...
01/13/2021

#100YearsAgoToday Thomas Henry Plimmer took the “helm” at the Rosenthal and Helming market in Lake Bluff, the current site of Be Market Lake Bluff. Plimmer was the son of English immigrants, and had managed the Blackler meat market in Lake Forest for the previous two years. He and wife Lulu lived on McKinley Road in Lake Forest with their four children.

Mary Mathews Dick and her husband Albert Blake Dick (inventor of the mimeograph and proprietor of A. B. Dick Company) bu...
01/13/2021

Mary Mathews Dick and her husband Albert Blake Dick (inventor of the mimeograph and proprietor of A. B. Dick Company) built their home, Westmoreland, on Deerpath west of Lake Forest in 1902. After the death of her husband, Mary Dick had far more space than she required on the Westmoreland farm, so in 1939 she worked with her son to donate 23 acres for Lake Forest Hospital.

With the new hospital opening in 1942, residents of Lake Forest now ventured west of the Skokie Highway for important healthcare services. This key development would never have happened without the generosity of Mary Mathews Dick.

Learn more about Mary Mathews Dick and other LFLB Change Makers here: http://bit.ly/3i68Aea

Tell us about a local Change Maker whom you know and admire! Email photos and text to Curator Laurie Stein at [email protected]. We'd love to share their story.

#100YearsAgoToday Services were held for Lake Forest native Sergeant William Fletcher, who had died of tuberculosis in F...
01/12/2021

#100YearsAgoToday Services were held for Lake Forest native Sergeant William Fletcher, who had died of tuberculosis in France in September 1918 while serving in World War I. As was the case with many others who died in the war, his memorial services were not held until much later, in January 1921, after his body finally arrived from overseas.

According to the Lake Forester, his pall bearers were local men of color who had seen service in the war, including: Walter Williams, Robert Miller, Walter Matthews, Oliver Matthews, Reid Harriston, Guy Casselberry, James Rogers Jr. and George Giles. The flag at City Hall was flown at half-mast. More on Sgt. Fletcher: https://create.passitdown.com/present/5d6fd9cf974fc3690fb45024/david/story/5ffb5defa01c300017445884

Jazz Pioneer: Born in Davenport, Iowa, Bix Beiderbecke could play several instruments, but it was the cornet on which he...
01/12/2021

Jazz Pioneer: Born in Davenport, Iowa, Bix Beiderbecke could play several instruments, but it was the cornet on which he excelled. His parents sent him to Lake Forest Academy in 1921 hoping this would curb his musical endeavors and encourage academic focus. On the contrary, Lake Forest brought Bix closer to the thriving jazz community in Chicago. He would sneak out of school to visit Chicago’s speakeasies and jazz clubs, including the predominantly African-American clubs on the South Side. It's believed that during his time at Lake Forest Academy, Bix composed his most famous song, "In the Mist."

Read more about Bix Beiderbecke and other LFLB Change Makers here: http://bit.ly/3but27f

Do you know someone from Lake Forest or Lake Bluff with a special gift for music? We'd love to know their story. Email photos and text to Curator Laurie Stein at [email protected].

#100YearsAgoToday Meyer’s Dry Goods in Market Square took out a full-page advertisement, relatively uncommon at the time...
01/11/2021

#100YearsAgoToday Meyer’s Dry Goods in Market Square took out a full-page advertisement, relatively uncommon at the time when the Lake Forester newspaper was only eight pages, to promote an upcoming sale, “THE MOST GIGANTIC PRICE SMASHING EVENT THIS TOWN HAS EVER SEEN.”

The ad emphasizes “pre-war prices” on everything from camisoles and union suits to thread and ribbons. In early 1921 the U.S. was still in the midst of a deflationary recession, as the economy adjusted from wartime to peacetime, rising prices normalized, and veterans were absorbed back into the workforce.

Meyer’s Dry Goods was located at 270 Market Square, recently home to Sweet Pete’s and The Toy Station.

Raising the Bar: In the 1950s, Margaret Rohner Lindman taught at Lake Bluff East School and Lake Bluff Middle School. It...
01/11/2021

Raising the Bar: In the 1950s, Margaret Rohner Lindman taught at Lake Bluff East School and Lake Bluff Middle School. It was during this period that Margaret, her husband Richard Lindman, and her sister Mary Griffith formed the Lindman Marionettes. She and Mary would write plays for children and then act out the performances, serving as both characters and puppeteers. Richard would build the sets and help with the stage crew, lighting and sound.

These plays proved so popular that by the early 1960s, Margaret Lindman had her own television show. “Just Imagine” aired on WTTW, Chicago’s Channel 11, from 1962 to 1964.

Learn more about Margaret Lindman and other LFLB Change Makers here: http://bit.ly/38utjVQ

Do you know someone whose talent and creativity has raised the bar in our community? We'd love to know their story! Send photo(s) and text to Curator Laurie Stein at lflbhistory.org.

#100YearsAgoToday With the excitement surrounding the start of the local basketball season, the Lake Forester printed th...
01/10/2021

#100YearsAgoToday With the excitement surrounding the start of the local basketball season, the Lake Forester printed this explainer about the sport’s newest rules. As the sport entered its third decade of existence and grew in popularity, many of the rules, like those mentioned about substitutions, jump balls, and traveling, were still in flux.

#100YearsAgoToday Basketball was the sport of interest in Lake Forest, with teams from both the Young Men’s Club and the...
01/09/2021

#100YearsAgoToday Basketball was the sport of interest in Lake Forest, with teams from both the Young Men’s Club and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) opening their seasons. The YWCA team lost their first matchup with the Chicago Hebrew Institute by a score of 13-5. Over 250 spectators took in the game, which took place in the Young Men’s Club gym at the west end of Market Square.

(For anyone attempting to decipher the box score, B seems to stand for “baskets,” which at the time were all worth 2 points, and F for “free throws,” worth 1 point as they are now. The positions of forward, center and guard were also the same as today, although at the time they were much more descriptive of where on the court the player could go.)

Creating a Vision: Sylvester Lind was Lake Forest's most frequent mayor, serving four terms. It was said that Lind, who ...
01/09/2021

Creating a Vision: Sylvester Lind was Lake Forest's most frequent mayor, serving four terms. It was said that Lind, who often traveled the Green Bay Trail between Chicago and Milwaukee on horseback for banking business, was the first to suggest the future site of Lake Forest. He was a charter member of the Lake Forest Association and key proponent of Lake Forest’s educational mission, lending his money and his name to the college, called Lind University in it earliest years.

Sylvester and Eliza Lind’s home, Roadside, was built at the site of today’s 550 East Deerpath in 1859. Lind’s home was rumored to have briefly served as an Underground Railroad stop. Read more about Sylvester Lind and other Change Makers at https://create.passitdown.com/present/5d6fd9cf974fc3690fb45024/david/story/5e027dbfddaf5705be11f10f.

Do you know another visionary from our community? Share their story by emailing photos and text to our Curator Laurie Stein at [email protected].

#100YearsAgoToday A group of over 40 prominent Lake Forest residents petitioned City Council to take “such steps as may ...
01/08/2021

#100YearsAgoToday A group of over 40 prominent Lake Forest residents petitioned City Council to take “such steps as may be deemed necessary” to remove an “unsightly” used car lot from the southeast corner of Deerpath and McKinley. Its presence broke established custom that property east of the railroad tracks in the city center “be kept clear of all taints of commercialism.” The lot was run by real estate broker and construction engineer Van Wagenen Alling, who as yet remained unbowed in the face of pressure. Appeals to the property owner, John T. Maxwell, to “have the automobile business ousted from the premises” were underway.

The Chicago Tribune had a bit of fun with the story, floridly opining that, with the lot’s unsightliness intact, “In Lake Forest the hateur of the English butler is dissolved in humiliation, the crystal sluices of the French maid’s lustrous eyes yield gentle tears as she dust off the gorget of the knight errant’s armour in the library, the stately suffix of the proudest Pekingese bows in a kink of ignominy…”

Serving our Country: Frances Perkins taught Physics at Ferry Hall (now Lake Forest Academy) from 1904 to 1906. While at ...
01/08/2021

Serving our Country: Frances Perkins taught Physics at Ferry Hall (now Lake Forest Academy) from 1904 to 1906. While at Ferry Hall, Perkins spent her free time at the Hull House and Chicago Commons settlement houses in Chicago and became convinced that working to better conditions for the poor and unemployed would be her vocation. Frances Perkins became the first woman to serve as a cabinet secretary when President Roosevelt appointed her Secretary of Labor in 1933.

Learn more about this Change Maker and others in our "Changing the World" exhibit at: http://bit.ly/3bkKDyG

Do you know someone else from our community who has made a difference serving our country? Share their story by emailing photos and text to our Curator Laurie Stein at [email protected].

#100YearsAgoToday Police in Chicago raided the flat of Joseph Probasco, alleged to be “a fence for burglars who speciali...
01/07/2021

#100YearsAgoToday Police in Chicago raided the flat of Joseph Probasco, alleged to be “a fence for burglars who specialize in robbing homes of wealthy Chicagoans.” Among his “treasure trove” was a $4,000 rug belonging to the James Ward Thornes, whose Lake Forest home had been cleaned out by thieves on Christmas Eve.

Probasco himself proved more slippery than his loot; although brought to the station, he managed to escape in film-worthy fashion. When his custodial officer was called away to the telephone, a patrol wagon with another prisoner pulled up to the alley entrance, which was locked. Probasco grabbed the keys from a desk, opened the door and “accepted” the prisoner, waited until the wagon departed, and then walked out. “He has not been seen since,” relates the Chicago Tribune.

Setting the Bar Higher: A product of Lake Forest High School’s swimming program (LFHS 2003), Matt Grevers went on to win...
01/06/2021

Setting the Bar Higher: A product of Lake Forest High School’s swimming program (LFHS 2003), Matt Grevers went on to win six Olympic medals. Learn more about Matt and other Lake Forest and Lake Bluff Change Makers in our exhibit "Changing the World:"

You can view the exhibit online at: https://create.passitdown.com/present/5d6fd9cf974fc3690fb45024/david/story/5da50072a7c4693372dd9fdc

Creating a Vision | Driving Business Forward | Setting the Bar Higher | Impacting Positive Change | Serving our Country | Representing the Voice of the People.

Who else from our community is a Change Maker? Share their story by emailing photos and text to [email protected].

History Center of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff's cover photo
01/06/2021

History Center of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff's cover photo

New year...new captions. #captionthis
01/06/2021

New year...new captions. #captionthis

Address

509 E. Deerpath
Lake Forest, IL
60045

The Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society is located adjacent to downtown Lake Forest, east of Market Square and a few blocks from the Lake Forest Metra station.

General information

The History Center has a Permanent Exhibit, Gallery, Education Hall and Research Room. The Center is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. Admission is free.

Opening Hours

Tuesday 13:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 13:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 13:00

Telephone

(847) 234-5253

Alerts

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Your Home for History

The History Center of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff (formerly the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society) has been home to the stories of our community for more than 45 years. And now we have a state-of-the-art history museum that is the pride of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. Our new home—your home for history—is a gathering place where the community can come together to celebrate who we are and how we are connected.

Our mission is to connect people and inspire curiosity by exhibiting, collecting, sharing and celebrating history.

Championing curiosity in the past, present and future is our specialty. The History Center plays an important role in the community by collecting photographs, maps, scrapbooks, diaries, house histories, architectural records, business histories, genealogies, oral histories, school records and much, much more. Is your story here? In our new home, we have made room for your story! Our curatorial staff is here to help you “dig in” and discover the gems in our collection. What connections will you make? Join us to support this effort because your history matters.

Nearby museums


Comments

Release of The Noble Train! The story of the Knox Expedition that saved the American Revolution
Michael Delott Photography and Headshots
Looking forward to tonight!
The History Center of LF-LB will be hosting the next Scots of Lake Forest area event. A Robert Burns Supper Feb 1, 2020 at our great new space at 509 E Deerpath. A casual evening of music, Burns poems and many toasts. Tickets are $25 and will sell out quickly. Get yours ASAP.
Lake Forest High 55th reunion braved the rain for a tour of Market Square
2,977 flags in front of Lake Forest High School
These Middle Grade adventure books take readers into Chicago in the 1890s, including Marshall Fields, the stockyards, the Museum of Science and Industry, and of course the Columbian Exposition. Anyone interested in Chicago's past will enjoy these fun reads!
Join us for a fun-filled Toastmasters meeting where members and guests come together for shared learning and growth! The grammarian will introduce a word of the day and monitor grammar usage throughout the meeting, then give a report when called upon to do so. Participate in Table Topics (impromptu speaking) and learn to think better on your feet. Meeting theme for April 18th is "Toastmasters Earth Day - Let Your Voice Be Heard." Wednesday April 18th at 11:45am, UL, 333 Pfingsten Rd, Northbrook IL. Click http://1531643.toastmastersclubs.org/ to view the club website or call 847.664.2033 for additional information. Please arrive at UL no later than 11:30 am to get escorted to the meeting location. We would love to meet and greet YOU! Toastmasters club mission: We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
A authenticated Sears Crescent in Lake Forest. http://www.sears-homes.com/2018/04/a-bright-and-shiny-sears-crescent.html
Tattered Torn Bibles and Historic Books CAN be Repaired Preserving all your underlining, highlighting and notes New covers; Leather, Naugahyde, Bookcloth, original cover http://www. bookman-jim. biz If you would like a poster, just send your street address to: [email protected] BookMan-Jim. Biz 920.265.5966
Today is the anniversary of the Iwo Jima flag raising. Lake Forester Greeley Wells supplied the first flag. Another Lake Forester, Kent Chandler Jr was there to witness the event.