But it was the railroad connection to Chicago – built in 1855 – that truly set the stage. The beauty of the natural setting combined with accessibility by rail to a growing metropolis led to the establishment of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff in the mid-to-late 1800s. At first they were formed as educational, religious, and recreational outposts. In the succeeding decades, as people continued to build rail lines, roads, and highways, Lake Forest and Lake Bluff transformed into full-fledged Chicago suburbs, yet retained their unique foundations.

These pathways, connections forged across time and space, tell the story of how we got here – and how we’re still getting here today.

The First People

Tribes & Traders, By Boat & Foot

The Wagon Trail

Breaking Ground & Bringing in Farmers

Laying Tracks

Trains & Roads & The Boom of Transport

Suburban Oasis

Building the midcentury dream

Staying Grounded

The tension between tradition and change