LFLB History Museum

Onwentsia Hunt and Mill Creek Hunt Club: Hounds, Horses and Heavenly Hunting

English style fox hunting in Lake Forest started as The Hunt at Onwentsia in 1897. It began as a "paper chase" and was turned into a "drag" hunt around 1904, when it became a dressier and more official sport. With large open farms to the west and only a few unpaved roads, it was an ideal location.

In 1900, Arthur Aldis was the first Master of the Hounds at Onwentsia Hunt Club.
This 1902 Chicago Tribune headline indicates that both estate owners and local farmers participated in this early November hunt, which went through the lands of John Doyle, Miles Conway, M. J. Bolger, Patrick Bradley, and Thomas Redmond.
Onwentsia Hunt Club ball, 1905. Image source: George R. Lawrence Co.

In the 1920s, as the area’s population grew, the club was pushed out to rural Milburn/Old Mill Creek, northwest of Waukegan. Mill Creek’s stables, main house and kennels were designed by David Adler whose wife Katherine was an experienced rider.

c. 1929. Image source: Chicago Daily News
Chicago Tribune, August 12, 1927

Today, on seven thousand acres, The Hunt still follows hounds over much of the same private land and upholds the tradition of encouraging visitors to join in.

Brenda Yost, Mill Creek Hunt Professional Huntsman, and Chris Lane with the Mill Creek Pack. Image Source: Daily North Shore, photograph by Rick Myslinski, November 2, 2015.