Discover Lake Forest/Lake Bluff history through the 300+ stories on our digital exhibits – and add a story or photograph yourself to help expand our archive and tell our community’s story.
From roles and responsibilities to fashion, to the boundaries on aspirations, we look at the role of young women entering adulthood as it was envisioned by society in 1920 and how it is defined today.
Lake Forest and Lake Bluff residents document the first few months of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic through their camera lenses.
How local students, teachers and parents are facing a return to school amidst a pandemic.
An exhibit of dozens of maps from the History Center collection that capture the stories, patterns and transformations that make up our community's history.
A presentation adapted from our 2019 panel discussion "Managing Epidemics Over Time," and an overview of the history of vaccination efforts put together by board member and medical microbiologist Tom Thomson
Guide from a 2005 exhibit about local inventors, including Willard Morrison, Albert Blake Dick, Elisha Gray, Albert L. Marsh, Dr. Ernest Volweiler, and Dr. Donalee Tabern.
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.
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 6,000 photographs from our museum collection.
Transcriptions of historic Lake Forest/Lake Bluff telephone books; very helpful for genealogy or house history
Highlights chronological milestones in Lake Forest’s past. (Published in 2011 in honor of Lake Forest's sesquicentennial.)
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
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.