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Online Exhibits

A Century at Elawa Farm

Built in 1917, Elawa Farm is the truest remaining testament to Lake Forest’s country estates, an era that shaped our city’s character. Elawa’s stunning architecture stands as a lasting monument to that period and to its two preeminent architects, Alfred Hopkins and David Adler. The stories of the Armour and Carroll families who called the farm home illustrate Lake Forest’s rural past. The current stewardship of the restored farm and garden by a public-private partnership exemplifies our community’s present values.

Market Squared: Ten Decades of Business and Beauty

At its beginnings, Market Square broke new ground. In 1916, as the nation’s first artfully designed shopping center, it linked pedestrian, automobile, and train, and heralded a new era in urban planning. It completely revolutionized Lake Forest’s business district from an afterthought to a focal point of the community. And the forward-thinking members of the Lake Forest Improvement Trust, who developed Market Square, formed one of the nation’s very first real estate investment trusts.

West Side Stories

Discover west Lake Forest, beyond the Skokie Highway. While the east, punctuated by ravine and bluff, remained blanketed by forests, out west homesteaders blazed trails, plowed fields and created a vibrant farming community by the 1830s.

The Northern Trust 100th Anniversary Exhibit

A look back on over 100 years of history of The Northern Trust in our community - it was founded in 1907 as First National Bank of Lake Forest. 

This exhibit was created by the Historical Society for The Northern Trust in 2007 for the bank's centennial. Exhibit panels are used with permission of The Northern Trust.

Lake Forest's Early African American Community

A brief introduction, with images and newspaper clippings, to some of Lake Forest’s early African American residents.

Nature By Design: Drawings of the Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture

The Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture was an innovative summer program of advanced training for graduates in those disciplines at Midwestern universities.

Hole In One: The Lore and Lure of Golf

Take a walk on the greens of the past with this exhibit, which canvasses the history of local golf and golfers from the 1890s to the present. Chicago played a vital role in the history of American golf, and it was Lake Forest where it all began.

All Aboard: Railways and the Growth of a Community

Discover how the railroads and the interurban gave shape to Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. This exhibit originally opened in our museum galleries in 2007.

A Spark of Genius: Local Inventors and their Discoveries

Find out how much innovation has occurred in our own backyard as you page through this exhibition booklet, produced in 2005.