Online Tours of Lake Forest
Thank you to Marge McClintock who has helped unravel the history of Arcady Farm and its neighboring properties in this self-guided, walking tour. A thirty year resident of Lake Forest, Marge lives in the Arcady neighborhood and is an avid gardener, nature enthusiast and history lover. During walks around the land, and while digging in her own garden, she has discovered several remnants and artifacts that have helped piece together this fascinating tour. In addition, Marge has spent hours researching the many people, places and events associated with this historic property throughout the past century.
Immerse yourself in the magnificent architectural and community history of Lake Forest's Lake Road. The tour will open in a simple PDF file that is formatted for phones and tablets. Tour is 1.25 miles and takes about 25 minutes to walk.
11 Stately Observers: Witness Trees of Lake Forest
Leaf through Lake Forest's past on this journey highlighting the town's arboreal landmarks - trees that have observed history at significant Lake Forest sites. Tour is designed for driving or biking.
Online Databases and Documents
Browse through over 10,000 photographs from our museum collection.
Telephone Directories, 1900-1968
Transcriptions of historic Lake Forest/Lake Bluff telephone books; very helpful for genealogy or house history
Timeline of Lake Forest History
Highlights chronological milestones in Lake Forest’s past. (Published in 2011 in honor of Lake Forest's sesquicentennial.)
City of Lake Forest Officials Database
Find all the Lake Forest alderman, city managers, treasurers, city marshals and mayors and their years of service
Text from Lake Forest’s City Charter, approved in 1861, amended in 1869
Lake Forest Lodge 1026, Petitions for Membership and Degrees
A database of genealogical information taken from petitions for membership and degrees for Lake Forest Masonic Lodge 1026. (For petitioners born in 1913 or later, visit to access the complete archive.)
1877 List of Lake County Taxpayers (selections from LF/LB area)
Includes name, occupation, and occasionally biographical information. Transcribed from The Past and Present of Lake County, Illinois, Chicago: Wm. Le Baron & Co, 1877.
Old Forester, 1944-1945
Society newsletter written by Lake Forest young people during World War II.
Online Local History Resources from Elsewhere
- The Lake Forester - via the Lake Forest Library
- The Lake Forest Library has a digitized, searchable database of the local newspaper, The Lake Forester, from 1899-1910 and 1917-1944.
- The Chicago Tribune - via the Lake Forest Library
- With your Lake Forest Library card, you can use ProQuest to search the Historical Chicago Tribune from 1849-1989 (library card # required for login).
- Lake Forest College Stentor - via Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections
- Student newspaper; 1898-1921 available online
- Lake Forest College newspaper, The Black Rap - via Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections
- Launched by Black students at Lake Forest College in the late 1960s and continued through the 1980s; recently relaunched in 2020
- Lake County newspapers, 1890s-1930s - via Cook Memorial Public Library
- Includes both full-text and/or index searches of the Lake County Independent, Lake County Independent and Waukegan Weekly Sun, Lake County Register, and Libertyville Independent
- Highland Park newspaper database - via Highland Park Public Library
- Digital copies of newspaper, 1874-1951. (Click newspaper icon in upper righthand corner for newspaper page images.)
- Deerfield newspapers, 1945-1960 - via Deerfield Public Library
- Browsable pdfs of The Deerfield Review
- Wilmette newspaper database - via Wilmette Public Library
- Includes both full text and/or index searches of Wilmette-area newspapers like Wilmette Life, Lake Shore News and The Local News, for various years.
- Evanston History Center Historic Newspaper Collection - via Evanston History Center
- Digitized images from the newspaper microfilm collection at the Evanston History Center, 1872-1922
- The Chicago Examiner - via Chicago Public Library
- Digitized images of the newspaper held at the Harold Washington Library Center, 1908-1918
Maps and Aerials
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Lake Forest - via the Library of Congress
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Lake Bluff - via the Library of Congress
- Map of Lake Forest, c. 1857 - via American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries
- Federal Township Plats of Illinois, 1804-1891 (U.S. government survey maps) - via Illinois State Archives and Lake County GIS
- Map of Lake County, 1861 - via Library of Congress
- 1948 reprint of 1861 Lake County map - via Lake County GIS and Mapping
- Map of Lake County, 1873 - via Library of Congress
- Illustrated Atlas of Lake County, 1885, with plats of townships and cities - via Library of Congress
- Maps of Lake County - via Lake County GIS and Mapping
- Click on the "four squares" in the upper right - the "Basemap Gallery." If you scroll past the aerial photos, you can see survey plats, maps and atlases from 1840, 1861, 1873, 1885, 1907, 1960, 1972, and 1993.
- Historic Aerial Photographs of Lake County, 1939-2017 - via Lake County GIS and Mapping
- Aerial Photographs of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, c. 1960s - via Vintage Aerials
Architecture and House History
- Lake Forest Country Places - via Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections
- Links to articles written by former Lake Forest College Librarian for Special Collections Arthur Miller
- Above link is about the collection - go here to browse the articles.
- Ragdale: A History and Guide - via Internet Archive
- By Alice Ryerson Hayes and Susan Moon, 1990
- Lake Forest College Historic Campus: Landscape and Buildings - via Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections
- Overview of the history of the campus site and structures
- Lake Forest College Historic Preservation Master Plan (2008)
- Note: site contains some pop-up ads
- Lake Forest sites on the National Register of Historic Places
- East Lake Forest Historic District (1978 nomination) - roughly bounded by Western, Westleigh, Lake Michigan, and the northern city limits
- Revised Draft (2012) - temporarily available
- Vine/Oakwood/Green Bay Historic District (1980 nomination)
- Green Bay Road Historic District (1995 nomination)
- Deerpath Hill Estates Historic District (2006 nomination)
- Frank Hibbard House, 301 North Chiltern
- 380 Chiltern
- 965 Castlegate Court
- West Park Neighborhood Historic District (2012 nomination)
- The Deer Path Inn, 255 East Illinois
- Lake Forest Cemetery, 1525 North Lake Road
- Ragdale, 1260 North Green Bay Road
- Helen Shedd Reed House, 1315 North Lake Road
- Mellody Farm (J. Ogden Armour House), 1500 W. Kennedy Road
- Noble Judah House, 111 West Westminster
- West View Farms (Robert P. Lamont House), 810 South Ridge Road
- Edward H. Bennett House, 89 East Deerpath
- Meadowood Dairy (Clifford M. Leonard Farm), Hathaway Circle and Inverleith Road
- Robert Hosmer Morse House, 1301 Knollwood Circle
- Westleigh (Louis F. Swift House), 255 East Foster Place
- East Lake Forest Historic District (1978 nomination) - roughly bounded by Western, Westleigh, Lake Michigan, and the northern city limits
- Lake Bluff sites on the National Register of Historic Places
- Lake Bluff Uptown Commercial Historic District (2006 nomination)
- Griffith Building, 103-113 East Scranton Avenue
- Lester Armour House, 700 Arbor Drive
- Tangley Oaks (Philip D. Armour III House), 900 Armour Drive
- Carolyn Morse Ely House, 111 Moffett Road
- Howard and Lucy Linn House, 555 Shoreacres Drive
- William McCormick Blair House, 982 Sheridan Road
- Historic Resource Survey: Estate Areas of Lake Bluff - via Village of Lake Bluff
- Lake Bluff Summary and Inventory of Historic Resources - via Village of Lake Bluff
- Conducted 2018-19 by Benjamin Historic Certifications
- List of Preservation Award Winners - via Lake Forest Preservation Foundation
- Includes articles with architectural information and images
- Overview of Estate Development and Lake Forest's Historical Significance - via Lake Forest Preservation Foundation
- Images from David Adler's working library (used as reference material) - via Liederbach & Graham Architects
- Lake Forest Historic Districts and Landmarks - via GIS Consortium
- Includes info like year built, style, and early owners - may want to corroborate facts with a second source.
- Landscape Art, Past and Present, by Harriet Hammond McCormick - via Internet Archive
- Includes details and images about the McCormick estate Walden.
- Lake Forest Cemetery listings - via Find A Grave
- Saint Mary Catholic Cemetery listings - via Find A Grave
- Saint Patrick Catholic Cemetery listings - via Find A Grave
- Lake Forest Cemetery History
- Text by Marilyn K. Alaimo, Chair, Lake Forest Cemetery Commission, 2001
- Lake Forest Cemetery on Facebook
- With profiles and photos of prominent individuals interred there
Records and Genealogy
- Index to births, marriages, and deaths in Lake County before 1916 - via Lake County Office of the County Clerk
- To order a record, forms and fees are involved
- Lake County Land Records search - via Lake Country Recorder of Deeds
- Note: not for the faint of heart. To use this database, you will have to create an account and may need to pay a fee.
- Lake County links and facts at FamilySearch.org
Digitized Histories, Essays and Articles
- A History of Lake County, Illinois (1912) (PDF) or Google Books
- Edited by Lake Forest College professor John J. Halsey, published 1912.
- Historical and Statistical Sketches of Lake County (1852) (PDF)
- By Elijah M. Haines
- Past and Present of Lake County, Illinois (1877)
- Published by William LeBaron & Co., 1877. Also via Google Books.
- Lake Forest, Illinois; History and Reminiscences, 1861-1961
- By Edward Arpee, published 1963
- "A Special Place: Lake Forest and the Great Depression, 1929-1940" - via JSTOR
- By Frederick Mercer Van Sickle, published in 1986 by the Illinois Historical Journal.
- Lake Forest: Art and History Edition - via the Internet Archive
- American Communities Company, 1916 - includes photographs and descriptions of many Lake Forest residences
- Second Book of the North Shore: Homes, Gardens, Landscapes, Highways and Byways Past and Present (1911) - via Internet Archive
- By Marion Ainsworth White, published by J. Harrison White, 1911 - includes photographs of many Lake Forest residences. Also via Google Books.
- "We're in the Movies: The Lake Forest Connection" - via Lake Forest Library
- Article listing the various films shot in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff
- History of Deerfield Illinois (1928) - via Deerfield Public Library
- By Marie Ward Reichelt. Includes details about the history of west Lake Forest and residents.
- Worship, Fellowship, and the Work of the Kingdom: The First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest - via Internet Archive
- By Christine Chakoian, 2013
- Chicago Yesterdays, by Caroline Kirkland (1919) - via Internet Archive
- Includes essays by local residents including Grace Farwell McGann ("Early Lake Forest"), Hobart Chatfield-Taylor, Mrs. Arthur Meeker and others
- 30 Miles North: A History of Lake Forest College, Its Town and Its City of Chicago - via Internet Archive
- by Franz Schulze, Rosemary Cowler, and Arthur H. Miller (2000)
- Lake Forest Estates, People, Culture - via Internet Archive
- by Arthur H. Miller and Shirley M. Paddock (2000)
Schools and Youth
- Boy Scouting in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff
- Long-time Highland Park Scout John Ropiequet has written a comprehensive illustrated history of Scouting in our communities from its start in 1910 through 1944, based on over 1,000 items from The Lake Forester and other materials.
- Lake Forest College yearbook, The Forester - via Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections and the Internet Archive
- Years 1892-2002 available, with a few missing because yearbooks were not published
- Student Protest at Lake Forest College - via Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections
- Online exhibit curated by Lillie Therieau '20 examining the history of activism at LFC, focusing on the 1960s and 1970s
- Historic Preservation Master Plan, Lake Forest College
- Published 2008
- Lake Forest Country Day School: The First Century
- Published 1988; relates the history of the Alcott School, Bell School, Lake Forest Day School, and their merger to become Lake Forest Country Day.
- Lake Forest High School, The First Thirty Years
- Written in the 1970s by LFHS teacher Donald Spooner and his class of history students
- Lake Forest Academy History Timeline - via Lake Forest Academy
- Lake Forest Academy and Ferry Hall Archives - via Illinois Digital Archives/Lake Forest Academy
- Digitized images, programs, and advertisements from Lake Forest Academy and Ferry Hall
- Vickerman School History, 1918 - via Illinois Digital Archives
- History project completed by students at Vickerman School in 1918 in honor of the state of Illinois centennial. Original housed at the Bess Bower Dunn Museum.
- Rondout School History, 1918 - via Illinois Digital Archives
- History project completed by students at Rondout School in 1918 in honor of the state of Illinois centennial. Original housed at the Bess Bower Dunn Museum.
- Deerfield-Shields High School yearbook, The Deerfield - via Highland Park Public Library
- Year range 1912-1935. (This was the high school attended by LF students prior to construction of LFHS)
- Lake Forest Go app - via City of Lake Forest
- (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the link to download or visit app store)
- East Lake Forest Walking Tour - via Lake Forest Preservation Foundation
- Published 2020. Visit an app store to download.
- Lake Bluff Walking Tours - via Lake Bluff History Museum
- Click or visit an app store to download
- Ride By Architecture - via Evanston Bicycle Club
- Bike routes created by the Evanston Bicycle Club, with help from the History Center and other local museums, that pass by a variety of architectural gems on the North Shore. (An app is available for download with voice navigation.)
Blogs and Websites
- Lake County, Illinois History
- History articles and essays written by Diana Dretske, curator and Lake County historian for the Bess Bower Dunn Museum in Libertyville (part of the Lake County Forest Preserve District)
- Villa Turicum and Villa Turicum Blog
- Resources, images and articles gathered about the Edith Rockefeller McCormick and Harold F. McCormick estate in Lake Forest
- Encyclopedia of Chicago
Online Collections and Archives
- Lake Forest Library Archives - via Illinois Digital Archives
- Images and articles related to Lake Forest Library, City Hall, Market Square, Edwin Hill Clark, and Villa Turicum
- Lake Bluff Online Collections Database - via Lake Bluff History Museum
- Digitized photos and archives housed at the Lake Bluff History Museum
- Explore Chicago Collections
- Online portal for searching photographs and archives housed at institutions throughout the Chicago region
- Online Resources from the Chicago History Museum
- Online catalog, digital images, online exhibits, Encyclopedia of Chicago, and more
- Illinois Digital Archives
- Online repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library as well as other libraries and cultural institutions in the State of Illinois
- CARLI Digital Collections
- Repository for digital content created by member libraries of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois - includes images and special collections
- Garden Club of America Collection - via The Smithsonian Institution
- Digitized slides and glass lantern slides showing Lake Forest/Lake Bluff gardens, largely c. 1930s. The Lake Forest Garden Club was a founding member of the Garden Club of America.