The 1833 Treaty of Chicago removed the Potawatomi and opened the area to European settlement. Many of these pioneers had journeyed far from homes in Ireland and Scotland to build new lives and farms. Soon they were joined by others journeying a shorter distance, 30 miles north from Chicago, who discovered an opportunity for renewal, for learning and living in places of beauty, amidst bluff and lake and forest.

Around 1900, another wave of newcomers flocked here. Wealthy Chicagoans retreated to suburban Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, full of country places and leisure spaces. Immigrants joined them from across the ocean, building an increasingly diverse service economy.

Succeeding decades have seen students and workers, corporations and families, transplants and returnees, all creating community in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. From 10,000 years ago to today, at some point we’re all newcomers.

So It Begins

Before 1830

The Ground Breakers


Town Builders

Footprint for the Future

Expanding Boundaries

The Population Explosion

Seeking Serenity

The Boom of Suburban Life