Historic Campus: Landscape and Buildings

Lake Forest College’s Historic Campus: Landscape and Buildings

This outline survey was prepared in 1998, and has been revised based on Lake Forest College: A Guide to the Campus, ed. Christopher Reed and Arthur H. Miller (Lake Forest: the College, 2007), 110 pages with bibliography and index ($18.00; available in the Special Collections Reading Room during regular hours), a work that involved numerous named student, faculty and staff contributors. If any discrepancies are found below, the 2007 Guide supercedes this essay.

New Since 2000: For a campus noted for its historic continuity, the last dozen years have seen for Lake Forest College major changes to two residence halls and the library, renovations to several buildings, the construction of a new student union, a major renovation of and addition to the 1968-built, 73,000 sq. ft. Sports Center, and expansion in 2011 of the Gus and Margie Hart Dining Room.    A new, much larger residence hall is scheduled to replace Moore Hall, South Campus, beginning construction in 2012.   

The Campus Site

In 1856, the Lake Forest Association, which would found both the town and the educational institution at Lake Forest, hired east-coast-experienced, pioneer landscape gardener Almerin Hotchkiss of St. Louis to lay out the town. His 1857 plan, with its over 1200 acres of curvilinear streets set in the most picturesque location (highest bluffs, deepest ravines) in the Chicago region, was the Chicago area’s first designed landscape and the second in Illinois after Hotchkiss’s own 1855 Chippiannook Cemetery in Rock Island. This innovative plan before Olmsted’s work on Central Park and a dozen years before Olmsted’s Riverside, Illinois plan (1869) banishes commercial building to west of the railroad tracks and creates a cultural town center near University (now Sheridan) and Deerpath, at the Academy and University Parks which would become the College’s North and Middle Campuses of today.  A plan for the campus was roughed out by O. C. Simonds in 1892, developed further and with Middle Campus’s distinctive ravine-edge loop drive by Warren Manning in 1897, and refined again by Benjamin Wistar Morris in 1906. See Arthur H. Miller’s article, “Warren Manning’s Picturesque Vision for Lake Forest College,” View: The Magazine of the Library of American Landscape History, Number 11 (Summer 2011), 27-31.

South Campus, added in 1948, was designed as Lake Forest Academy in 1892-93 by landscape gardener O.C. Simonds and architects Pond & Pond, with design by Irving K. Pond.  It was created out of a former neighborhood of African-Americans’ small post-slavery homes.  In 1946 the main Academy building, Reid Hall, was destroyed by fire, and by 1948 the Academy had chosen to relocate to what was then west of Lake Forest, the former Mellody Farm estate of J. Ogden Armour.  After carefully weighing options, the College decided to add this campus with its remaining buildings.  By 2011 all but one of the 1890s-early 1900s structures have been replaced, except for Moore Hall (earlier East House), scheduled for demolition and replacement in 2012-13.  To the west of the south portion of South Campus is Farwell Field, given to the College in the early 1900s by Charles B. Farwell, the institution’s largest benefactor from the 1870s to the early 1900s, but known by name only in this venue, the College’s athletic field and the location of Halas Hall.  


North Campus

Durand Institute (1891-92, Henry Ives Cobb, architect; renov. 1980, Chicago Associates Architects and Planners [CAPA]). Cobb designed several buildings for Lake Forest University in the later 1880s and early 1890s, only two of which survive on campus. The other is the 1891 Gymnasium, now Hotchkiss Hall, on Middle Campus (see below). This Lake Forest work was Cobb’s first major campus design experience, overlapping with his designing of this country’s first great Beaux-Arts Collegiate-Gothic campus plan for the University of Chicago (1891-93).

This building, referred to as a “stunning” version of the architect’s Richardsonian Romanesque style by historian Thomas Schlereth, was donated by wholesale grocery magnate Henry C. Durand — according to local historian Edward Arpee, at the request of Rev. Dr. James G. K. McClure, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church facing the building (1886-87, Cobb & Frost). Roughly modeled on Richardson’s early 1880s Billings Library for the University of Vermont, it also reflects Burnham and Root’s later 1880s first Art Institute of Chicago (demol.). Originally a town-gown art institute with galleries and an “auditorium” (two years after Adler & Sullivan’s building by that name in Chicago), today it houses the art and philosophy departments of Lake Forest College.

On this site, facing Deerpath, stood from 1858-59 to 1879 the first wood-frame Lake Forest Academy building by pioneer Chicago architect Asher Carter; here college-level work began as early as 1859 with a first regular class organized in 1861. This Collegiate program disbanded in 1863, with the male-only students going east to college or into the military, where one was killed in battle.

 Lois Durand Hall (1898-99; Frost & Granger, architects; Charles S. Frost and Alfred Hoyt Granger). Known as “Lois,” this women’s residence hall originally also included dining facilities in the manner of such buildings at women’s colleges such as Smith. Donated by Henry C. Durand in memory of his mother, Lois Barnes Durand. Frost & Granger, brothers-in-law each married to daughters of Chicago & Northwestern RR president Marvin Hughitt, designed many stations for the Northwestern and other lines, including the Lake Forest station (1900). Frost later designed Navy Pier in Chicago and Granger both wrote a biography of mentor Charles McKim (1913) which still is in print and also chaired the award committee for the Tribune Tower competition in 1922. Several Lake Forest houses and buildings, including City Hall (1898), are by this firm.

Cleveland-Young International Center (1927, Anderson & Ticknor/Stanley Anderson ’16, architect; renov. 1998). Built as a Nurses’ Residence for the now-demol. Alice Home Hospital (1898, Frost & Granger) just north and east on the edge of the ravine, in the early 1940s this became Bradley Lodge, a student residence hall. The renovation was made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cleveland ’31.

 Deerpath Hall (1956, Naess & Murphy, architects; renovated and expanded 1999-2000, Solomon Cordwell). Built by the architects of Chicago’s first skyscraper (the first Prudential Building, 1955) after the Depression and World War II and just a year later, Deerpath Hall’s flat facaded anti-historical appearance was the first such building to break with the Beaux-Arts past on the College’s North and Middle Campuses. Today this residence hall houses first year students — on the main street between the business district and the train and, in the other direction, the beach.

Middle Campus

 Young Hall (1878, Leon C. Welch, architect—as University Hall, later College Hall to 1981; renov. 1981-82 by CAPA). The first permanent surviving building of the institution, this exuberant, tall, yellow-brick Second Empire “College Hall” for its first century was built following the 1877 fire in the New Hotel building at about 401 North Mayflower, just southeast of the campus. Collegiate Department work at Lake Forest University had begun again, this time co-educationally, in 1876. This new academic and residential building was donated originally by the Charles B. Farwell family, Mrs. Farwell having given the impetus for re-starting the college for her daughter, Anna Farwell ’80, later Mrs. Reginald DeKoven, a noted author. The building was re-named in memory of the lead donor for the 1981-82 renovation, alumnus Irwin L. Young, x’26.

 North Hall (1880, Leon C. Welch, architect; renov. 1898 Frost & Granger). Originally built to house Lake Forest Academy following the destruction by fire of its building to the north on the site of Durand Institute, it recalls the predecessor structure’s Italianate style. After 1893 it was a college residence hall and since the 1950s the institution’s administration building. It was donated by the C. B. Farwells.

 Patterson Lodge (1880, perhaps by Leon C. Welch; renov. 1993, O’Donnell, Wicklund & Pigozzi [OWP—merged with Cannon Design 2010], architects). This third of three yellow-brick structures from 1878-80, again Second Empire, completed a crescent of buildings, serving originally as the President’s House. After World War I it became a residence hall for students and faculty. The legendary coach Ralph Jones lived here in the 1930s and 1940s. Later it assumed its current role as the College’s office for Admissions and Financial Aid. The piazza was reconstructed in 1993. The building is named for the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Patterson, the founder of the town in 1857 and the first president of Lake Forest University, 1875-77.

 Hotchkiss Hall (1891, Henry Ives Cobb, architect; renov. 1987-88, OWP). Originally a gymnasium also donated by Senator C. B. Farwell and his family, North Gym or “Old Ironsides” burned in 1969 and became a classroom facility in 1988. It was named for Eugene and Suzanne Hotchkiss in 1993 upon President Hotchkiss’s retirement (1970-1993). This Richardson Romanesque gem too was labeled as a “stunning” example of the style by historian Thomas Schlereth in a 1988 article (in Spirit of H. H. Richardson…, p. 57).

 Reid Hall (1899-1900, Frost & Granger, architects; renov. 1938, Puckey & Jenkins; 1966, Brenner Danforth (Daniel Brenner, George Danforth), 1980s, OWP, and 1997-98, Inspired Partnerships). Originally the Arthur Somerville Reid Memorial Library, donated by Mrs. Simon Somerville Reid in honor of her son, class of 1897, it was the College’s library until 1965 when it was converted into classroom space, to which basement practice rooms were added in the 1980s. the original library configuration copies that of Richardson’s Billing Library at the U. of Vermont, additions to which were worked on in Richardson’ s successor firm’s office when Alfred Granger was an associate there. The style, Collegiate Gothic, executed in gray Bedford limestone, reflects the innovative style of Frost’s former partner Cobb in his buildings for the U. of Chicago, 1891-1900.

 Lily Reid Holt Chapel (1899-1900, Frost & Granger; renov. (int.) 1977, Charlotte Simmons and (ext.) 1997-98, Inspired Partnerships). Also donated by Mrs. Reid, whose home “The Lilacs” (1872-1970) was across Sheridan, for the memory of her daughter, class of 1884, it is enhanced by a Louis Tiffany window on the east and six Tiffany chandeliers originally for the Presbyterian Church, 1903, but transferred to the Holt Chapel in 1940 when the Church was renovated by Stanley Anderson ’16. Joined to Reid Hall by a cloister, the Chapel and its tower make an ensemble with the other building, all in the gray-stone Collegiate Gothic style.

 Blackstone Hall and Harlan Hall (1907-08, Frost & Granger, architects; wing additions, 1940s, Naess & Murphy, and 1960s third floors, Perkins & Will). Mostly the gift of Mrs. Blackstone, Mrs. Reid too contributed to the earlier men’s residence hall parallel to Sheridan Road — constructed under President Richard Harlan’s reform-era leadership (1901-06) to restore to the campus the men’s fraternities, housed off-campus then for a decade. Mrs. Blackstone, donor too of Harlan Hall, insisted that the second building be named for the departing President. Today these are co-educational residence halls.

The two red-brick and limestone-trimmed Collegiate Gothic buildings reflect a 1906 campus plan by landscape architect Warren Manning, now on view in the stairway of Donnelley Library. This plan was created under the leadership of the trustees Charles Dyer Norton and Alfred Baker who also led in creating the 1909 Burnham Plan of Chicago. This “City Beautiful” era plan with two grand allees sought to unite the College campus with both the 1893 Lake Forest Academy campus to the south, straight through the Harlan-Blackstone iron gates to what now is South Campus, and east between Carnegie and Hotchkiss Halls to Spring Lane, leading to Ferry Hall women’s preparatory school — all departments of Lake Forest University in that day (to 1925).

 Carnegie Hall (1908, Frost & Granger, architects). Andrew Carnegie’s donation was arranged through President Harlan, well-connected in Washington (which was the seat of the Carnegie Endowment) through his father, Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan. Originally built as a Physics Building, the Collegiate Gothic building housed the College’s science program until 1962 and since then has been the home of the College’s Foreign Language and, after 1975, English Departments.

 Calvin Durand Hall (1907-08, Howard Van Doren Shaw, architect; renov. 1981, CAPA; renov. 1998). Projected as part of the men’s residence complex for Frost & Granger, it was designed by Shaw, president of the Board of Trustees (1905-08) Alfred Baker’s own architect (255 N. Mayflower, 1897). The Donor was Calvin Durand. Modeled on the dining hall of King’s College, Cambridge, the red-brick and limestone early English Renaissance gathering hall glorified the Collegiate Gothic style, especially with its Italian-inspired English terrace. Meant as a fitting dining hall for the merchant princes who had been living in off-campus fraternities, it matched the high style of nearby country places of the day.  Since 1998 the great hall has been used as a formal study hall.  

With Blackstone and Harlan, it may have been the model (through the influence of key shared trustees Cyrus McCormick, Jr. and David B. Jones) for Princeton president Woodrow Wilson’s 1906-10 effort to bring Princeton’s eating clubs back onto campus, too. When Wilson was thwarted in this effort by the New York Establishment he ran for governor of New Jersey in 1910 and for President in 1912, the second time against a Republican Party split between the incumbent William Howard Taft (for whom former trustee Charles Dyer Norton had become private secretary) and former president Theodore Roosevelt. If Wilson could have built a Princeton version of Blackstone, Harlan and Durand Commons, would he have left to enter politics?

Faculty Circle (1916, nos. 7, 8, 18 and 19, Howard Van Doren Shaw, architect; 1927, nos. 9, 10, 11 and 12, Stanley Anderson ’16, architect; and 1938, nos. 14, 15, 16 and 17, Puckey & Jenkins, architects). This harmonious red-brick English-style crescent of homes was built for faculty residences between the world wars on a peninsula of ground between two dramatic ravines. First designated for fraternity houses on the 1906 Manning campus plan, the first four English Arts & Crafts-style houses followed a plan similar to those of Shaw’s superintendents’ houses at Marktown in Indiana for Trustee Board president Clayton Mark then, when his steel mill at East Chicago was in full production for European War munitions. Louis Swift, also supplying troops in Europe, donated the first houses. The second group a decade later, in the English traditional cottage style (Domestic English Gothic) was designed by alumnus Stanley Anderson who had been an associate in the late (d. 1926) A.I.A. Gold Medalist Howard Shaw’s office, after returning in 1919 from studying architecture in Paris. The third group of four houses in two duplex buildings was designed in the Georgian style, by the architectural firm commissioned to update the 1906 campus plan in 1938 — Puckey having worked with architect Charles A. Coolidge (Art Institute, Chicago Cultural Center) on the U. of Chicago campus, 1910-15.

Visual Communications (c. 1930s; 1951 moved to campus by Stanley Anderson ’16, architect). This one-story wood-frame building was donated to the College by the Korhumel family, from their estate just west of the Tollway today on Route 60 (north side). Formerly a kennel for show dogs, originally the structure housedhere a Student Union on campus before being adapted for its current use.

 Johnson Science Center (1962, Perkins & Will, architects; addition, 1990, OWP). After Naess & Murphy did a formal, Beaux Arts style campus plan in 1953 with landscape architect Chance Hill, the only result of which was Deerpath Hall, the Trustees chose a new, younger firm: Perkins & Will, which began working in 1959, developing an informal plan. The Sputnik-era fund-raising for the first new academic space since Carnegie in 1908 proceeded slowly until the arrival of President William Graham Cole in 1960, following the death of beloved former faculty member and president (1942-59) Ernest Johnson. This International-Style complex ironically echoes Naess & Murphy’s high-profile arrangement of two International-Style rectangles and a circle for O’Hare Airport at that same time. On campus the circular building was the Thomas 0. Freeman Science Library, donated by Mrs. Freeman. The sympathetic modern-style addition in 1990 of faculty-student research space was made possible by Board of Trustees president Wesley Dixon and his spouse, Suzanne Searle Dixon.

 Stuart Commons (1962, Perkins & Will; renov. 1981, CAPA; 2006, Wright Associates; 2011, Beacon Architectural Associates, Boston). Once again in a reform-minded era renewed egalitarianism was reflected in a second Commons, this time both for dining and for convocations —notable speakers being an outstanding feature of the Cole era. Here again an expanding campus still could dine as one community, not divided by class (the 1900s issue), gender (women had continued to dine in Lois until the mid 1930s), or race — as minority students became a significant share of the student body. Rather than building new dining facilities on the new South Campus, Commons was expanded to emphasize in this small college setting the unity of the community. The International and organic Wrightian Prairie-School styles were integrated into this complex which is at a right angle east and north of the Durand Commons, respecting its terrace’s mediation to the lawn for this stately old hall. The red brick, white stone, and horizontal cornice respect, too, the older partner building.  This building was renovated in 2006 to expand offices for Gates Center (student programming, etc.) staff and students and to link the1962 building to the Mohr Student Center (2006) and to Calvin Durand Hall (1908).  The renovated dining room, named for Gus and Margie Stuart Hart in 2006, underwent further expansion north in the summer of 2011 (180 additional seats, more serving stations, 3500 sq. ft.).  The 2011 expansion cost $4.1 million and was designed by Beacon Architectural Associates of Boston with Michael Coleman, lead architect, and Christopher Eberly, project architect.                

Mohr Student Center (2006, Wright Associates).  After Calvin Durand Hall became a study hall in 1998 the need for a student union became a more pressing need.  The new building, named for alumni Jean and  Frank Mohr, ’52, was projected during the mid 1990s planning process, and then realized under President Schutt.

 Donnelley and Lee Library (1964-65, Perkins & Will; renov. 1982-83, CAPA; renov. and expanded 2004, Shepley Bulfinch, Boston). Elliott Donnelley was a key trustee in building College-community ties after World War II and as Board chair in the 1960s his generosity and influence were critical. Laurance Lee also has been a trustee leader in the last generation.  The 1964/65 library building, initially also housing classrooms for the fast-growing college from 1965 to 1982, reflected a heightened commitment to scholarship and individual research pursuits. In style and materials it followed especially the neighboring Commons of 1962. The 2004 compatible addition and exterior renovation references Prairie School design and in particular Wright’s Unity Temple, Oak Park. The total renovation of the 1965 building’s interior, too, repurposed the space for a 21st C. networked digital environment, with new balances for traditional services, collections, and processes. By 2012 this re-invention eight years ago is considered on campus and in the larger library community as having exceeded expectations in making this a busy academic center for the campus and a destination for scholars and researchers beyond as well.  

Glen Rowan (1908, Howard Van Doren Shaw, architect; renov. c. 1970, Perkins & Will; terrace restoration 2011, Craig Bergmann). This home of the Rev. Clifford and Alice Reid Barnes was purchased by the College from Lilace Barnes in the Cole years, initially for use by the First National Bank of Chicago as a Conference Center and after 1980 as a guest house and meeting place for the College, also available for other events. Renovated by the Bank and decorated by the Women’s Board’s Charlotte Simmons, this archetypical country place is preserved as one of the best.  The 2011 restoration of Glen Rowan’s historic Arts & Crafts terrace and reflecting pool, designed by Craig Bergmann with his commitment to its ongoing planting, is a notable preservation achievement.  Around 1967 Martin Luther King visited Miss Barnes, a reformer daughter of eminent reformer Clifford Barnes, to socialize in a relaxed setting with decision-makers on the housing issues of the day.

South Campus

Rosemary House (1960, Perkins & Will, architects; renov. 2007). This dramatic ravine-edge residence, at 738 East Rosemary Road across from South Campus was built as a President’s House in the contemporary style of the firm’s later Middle Campus buildings early in the Cole administration. The landscape was designed by Franz Lipp. In the Spring of 1998 President David Spadafora moved into the new President’s House at 100 North Sheridan, about three blocks south, now the residence of President Schutt. It has been adaptively reused as the office of the Dean of Students.

Moore Hall (1893, Pond & Pond, architects; renov. after 1922 fire; proposed for 2012-13, demolition and replacement). The only surviving structure from Chicago Beaux-Arts architects Pond & Pond’s Lake Forest Academy campus of 1892-93, this today is a residence hall for college students. Lake Forest Academy moved to Mellody Farms in west Lake Forest after fire destroyed the main Reid Hall in 1946. The landscape was designed by Prairie-Style master 0. C. Simonds who also designed the Morton Arboretum; besides possible trees, only the drives at the old Academy gate on Rosemary survives of this plan. Legendary Jazz great Bix Beiderbeck attended the Academy in 1921-22, living in this building, then known as East House, and apparently composing “In a Mist” on a piano in the Lounge. The College renamed the building for Rev. Herbert McComb Moore, ’96, president of the College, 1920-42.

 Hixon Hall (1912, Howard Van Doren Shaw, architect; 1940s addition, Leland Atwood, architect; renov. 1977). Originally built as a carriage house for the Finley Barrell house at 855 East Rosemary Road, just east. In 1940 the Hixons donated this building and parcel of land to the Academy; when the College acquired the campus in 1948, it was included. Its English Arts & Crafts style shows dramatically on the south-facing wall of windows. The addition by Anderson houses Theater Department classrooms and studio space while the original building houses the 1977 Allan Carr Theater.

Buchanan Hall (1927; renov. and expanded 1980s, Orput Associates, Inc.; renov. 2007).  Originally the north portion was built in 1927 as a staff residence for Lake Forest Academy, but soon was pressed into service for students.  By the 1960s it was the home of the Advanced Management Institute, a program begun by the College in 1946 for employees of local area companies.  By hte 1980s it had become the independent Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, with a major addition to the south.  When the Graduate School moved to west Lake Forest in 2006, the College took over use of the again renovated building in 2007, for the Education and Religion Departments and for the Wellness Center. 

Ice Rink (1951, Naess & Murphy, architects). Built originally as the Alumni Memorial Field House, it became the Ice Rink for hockey in 1968 after completion of the Sports Center, adjacent.

South Campus Faculty Houses (1962, Perkins & Will). The expanding College required new housing both for additional teaching staff and to replace apartment space scheduled for demolition (Bross and Beidler Houses on Middle Campus) and for conversion to academic and administrative space in other buildings. These duplex units on the south stand on the site of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1870-1920s; built to serve the post-Civil-War former-slave community), which was moved north to the site of the current faculty houses on Washington Road — first as an infirmary for the Academy and after 1948 as a faculty house. It was torn down in the early 1960s.

South Campus Residence Halls: Nollen, Gregory, Roberts and McClure (1963-65, Perkins & Will; Nollen renovated and expanded, 2001, Solomon Cordwell). First the two buildings on the north or Rosemary Road side, Nollen and Gregory, were constructed and then, after demolishing the Academy’s Remsen and Durand Cottages, the two on the south or Maplewood Road side were built, Roberts and McClure. The four buildings honor former presidents of the College: Rev. Daniel Gregory (1878-1885), Rev. William Roberts (1886-1892), Rev. James G. K. McClure (acting, 1892-93, and 1897-1901), and John S. Nollen (1907-1917). 

 Sports and Recreation Center (1968, Edward Dart, architect [partner in Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett]; renovated and expanded, 2010, Solomon Cordwell Beunz Architects). The last building built under Elliott Donnelley’s patronage and leadership, what remains of this modernist example characteristic of Dart’s later work is the sole representative of this version of the mid 20th C. style on campus. The 2010 major modernist revival renovation and addition offers additional non-varsity fitness and sports and activity space, including a cafe.  

Halas Hall (1979; renov. 1999). Reflecting the modern style of the faculty houses across Washington Road to the east, this long, low building tucked into the bank rising west to Farwell Field was built for the training facilities for the Chicago Bears; from here they won their 1985 Superbowl trophy. Beginning in 1998 it houses the champion Chicago Fire soccer team and also some of the College’s athletic department programs. The adjacent small service building (1938) was designed by Pucky & Jenkins. Architect Stanley Anderson ’16 designed the press box on Farwell Field.

Brown House, 100 North Sheridan Road (1905?, 1917, Van Wagenen Alling (1876-1944), architect and builder; mid-century, renov. public rooms, Stanley Anderson ’16, architect (Anderson & Ticknor); 1998, renov.). This house serves as the College President’s residence.  The 1917 house was designed and built for Onwentsia member and Ph.D. chemist William M. and his spouse Kean W. Burton, he being the inventor of the method for refining gasoline for Standard Oil.  The Adleresque public rooms, for later owners, by Anderson reflect the neo-classical decorative elegance of the later country-place-era style. The designer of the Prairie-Style forest-bounded meadow in front of the house has not been identified, but is in the manner of Chicago-based Prairie Style designer Jens Jensen, busy in Lake Forest in 1917. This President’s residence, Brown House, was donated to the College by the family of the late owners, Mr. and Mrs. Gardner (Elizabeth Byron Smith) Brown; Mr. Brown was a long-time trustee, succeeded now by his son, William.

Arthur H. Miller
Former Archivist and Librarian for Special Collections
Donnelley and Lee Library
555 North Sheridan Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045
847-735-5064 (ph)
847-735-6296 (fx)

December 4, 1998; revised March 23, 2012; updated November 1, 2013