A "Good Turn" for History

With the help of History Center archives, John Ropiequet, a long-time Highland Park Scout, has written a comprehensive illustrated history of Scouting in our communities. This thoroughly researched chronology covers scouting in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff from 1910 through 1944 and is based on over 1,000 items from The Lake Forester and other archival materials. 

View "An Illustrated History of Boy Scouting in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, Illinois 1910 to 1944" here.

The above article is from the Lake Forester, May 1, 1931.



This month we're taking a deep dive into our golf photo archives.

#GolfersLife We'll start close to the beginning with the Lake Forest Golf Club, 1895, a nine-hole course located on the former Leander McCormick farm near the current site of Lake Forest Country Day School. The club was the precursor to the Onwentsia Club. The unidentified golfer looks to be concentrating on a shot in some rough terrain, which may have been a hallmark of this early course.

#GolfersLife The community's first nine-hole course, the Lake Forest Golf Club (1895), converted one of Leander McCormick’s outbuildings, alternately a “sheep shed” or “chicken coop” depending on the account, for its single-chamber locker room. The McCormick sheep were a persistent extra hazard. (Image from Annals of Onwentsia, 1893-1928.)

#GolfersLife Lake Forest golfers and caddies, pictured beside the Lake Forest Golf Club "clubhouse" porch. By mid-1895, over 150 players had enrolled as members, including 60 women.

(A list of people known to be in the photo is available here. See the Onwentsia Club's 1995 centennial book for exact identifications.)



#100YearsAgoToday The young people of Lake Forest had the opportunity to challenge themselves in “athletic badge tests” overseen by the playground directors at either West Park or Farwell Field.

This playground and recreation movement originated around the turn of the century as a manifestation of Progressive-Era social welfare reform that valued play as “essential to the health and the physical, social and moral well being of the child.” (Playground Association of America, 1906.) By 1920, the movement began to further emphasize physical fitness metrics like those in the athletic badge tests.

Note the stark differences between the tests for boys (pull-ups, broad jumps, sprint) and for girls (Indian Club race, shooting a basketball, balancing). The Indian Club race involved retrieving bowling-pin shaped wooden clubs (exercise equipment that had originated in the Indian subcontinent) placed ahead at intervals, returning and standing each club within a circle. This was said to be a good game for “training in self-control.”


#100YearsAgoToday “Several hundred” Lake Forest baseball fans were disappointed when the “Fur Industries” team from Chicago did not show up for an anticipated match-up with the local Young Men’s Club team at West Park.

With the crowd gathered and the players suited up, the team elected to divide in half for an exhibition game instead. “The division was made to take advantage of the natural rivalry between the two sides of the town,” pitting the “Cod-Fishers” against the “West-Ends”

At that time, “west” was anything west of Western Avenue. “Codfish Town” was a neighborhood in southeast Lake Forest centered around Washington Road, Washington Circle, and Ryan Place, which had historically been home to a number of immigrants from Newfoundland, among other places. On Friday evenings, it was said, the scent of codfish cooking wafted through the air.


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