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Lectures Available For Groups

Scheduling a Lecture

We're pleased to offer the presentations listed below to local community groups and clubs. Staff are generally available to give lectures Tuesday through Friday - other days and evenings are subject to limited staff availability. To schedule a lecture, please contact Laurie Stein at or Janice Hack at, or call the History Center at 847-234-5253.

Lectures are approximately 45 minutes and require a projector and screen for a PowerPoint presentation. The History Center staff can bring a projector upon request. 

A donation to the History Center Lake Forest-Lake Bluff of $200 is suggested for each presentation.

West Side Stories: The History of West Lake Forest

West Side Stories focuses on the history of the part of our town west of Route 41/the Skokie Highway, which, according to a survey we took of 100 local residents, is the boundary line most of us now use to define “west Lake Forest.”  Early homesteaders blazed trails and created the vibrant farming community of Everett, whose neighborhoods, schools and businesses have formed an essential part of the Lake Forest whole since 1926. 

Links at the Lake: The Beginnings of Golf in the West

Chicago played a vital role in the history of American golf, and Lake Forest is where it all began. Learn about the first links on the lakeside grounds of a Lake Forest estate, hear stories about the founding of area clubs and courses, and enjoy anecdotes about local golfers and tournaments.

Lake Bluff Camp Meeting

The Lake Bluff Camp Meeting was formed in 1875 by a group of Methodist Ministers. For the next two decades, it was an important cultural destination for many people, including some well-known national figures. Modeled on other meetings of the Chautauqua movement, the camp provided not only religious activities but also social, cultural, educational, and recreational programs. By the end of the 19th century, the Lake Bluff Camp Meeting had fallen off in popularity.  However, it is easy to argue that the camp had both a national impact and a significant influence on the future development of the Village of Lake Bluff.

More Fun Than A Yacht: The Gentleman Farm Movement

The rapid rise in urban density at the end of the nineteenth century produced nostalgia for the countryside, manifested in “Gentleman Farms.” Well-known architects designed farm complexes that were not only functional but artistic showpieces as well. This lecture recalls the heyday of the Gentleman Farm movement, focusing on local examples in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.

Lake Forest in 1916

Take a trip back to the Lake Forest of 100 years ago.  In 1916, Market Square was just opening, local Red Cross groups were forming to assist the European war effort, the Marion Lambert murder trial was dominating local and national headlines, and F. Scott Fitzgerald visited Lake Forest to see Ginevra King.

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. This presentation highlights the shops, people and events that have made Market Square into such a unique place for the past century.

Hometown patriotism during World War i

With Great Lakes Naval Station to the north and Fort Sheridan to the south, it is no surprise that the towns of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff were highly active during America’s involvement in World War I from 1917-1918. From sending soldiers overseas to dedicating Market Square, Lake Forest and Lake Bluff were witnesses to years of sacrifice and change. Their efforts did not go unnoticed, as The Chicago Evening Post would eventually label Lake Bluff as “the most patriotic town of its size in America.”

Polo, Parties, and Panache: Lake Forest During the Great Gatsby Era

The term “Jazz Age” was coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald to capture the spirit of rebellion that overtook his generation in the 1920’s.  This was a period of great social change, particularly for women.  This lecture will present a snapshot of Lake Forest during the Jazz Age with special emphasis on the community’s connection to F. Scott Fitzgerald and the original flapper, Irene Castle.  It was an era of growth, grand homes by premier estate architect David Adler, and the great game of golf.  This program was created in connection with the April 2014 edition of the Historical Society’s mock newspaper, The Gem, which covered all the news of 1926.

Progress, Prohibition and Pragmatism:  Lake Forest in 1933

This lecture explores 1933, the height of the Depression, and how the year played out locally. Among the topics covered are how two local architects made a splash at the Century of Progress Fair in Chicago, how a local polo match lifted the nation’s spirits, why North Shore Gas was designing kitchens and why 3.2% beer was available despite Prohibition.  This program was created in connection with the April 2015 edition of the Historical Society’s mock newspaper, The Gem, which covered all the news of 1933.

1966: The Growth and Loss of Innocence

In 1966, all eyes were on the moon as the Gemini space program ended and NASA turned its focus to the Apollo program.  Closer to home, the population explosion prompted numerous expansions to the local schools and serious questions about housing.  While children in Lake Bluff dreamed of a new swimming pool, college age students thoughts turned to something more troubling—the expansion of troops in Vietnam. In this lecture explores the local and national stories of this pivotal year.  This lecture was created in connection with the April 2016 edition of the Historical Society’s mock newspaper, The Gem, which covered all the news of 1966.

From Gowns to Gavels: The Life and Work of Virginia Fiester Frederick

Virginia Fiester Frederick’s fashion design career began in her Lake Forest basement with outfits for her own children.  It reached its pinnacle at no less of an address than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, when her designs were commissioned for a White House wedding. Her political career also began locally, as the first woman alderman on the Lake Forest City Council, and ventured south to Springfield, where she served for 16 years in the Illinois State House of Representatives.  The lecture highlights several “Fiester originals,” Virginia’s beautiful couture clothing designs, many of which were made for local residents.   The program was made possible by a generous grant from the Market Square Questers.