This Week in History: Episode 11

Join the History Center's Alexandra Schneider for a look back at local history happenings from the week of July 19-July 25. This week's highlights: Polo Tournament comes to Onwentsia, new Deerpath Inn opens, musical pair make stop in Lake Forest. View Episode 11 here.



#100YearsAgoToday Ralph Jones, legendary football coach who led the Chicago Bears to the 1932 NFL championship, began the first of two lengthy stints coaching in Lake Forest. As a pro coach, Jones was famous for creating the T-formation offensive alignment.

He was hired by Lake Forest Academy as athletic director; he would also coach football and basketball at the school. During his time at LFA from 1920 to 1929, Jones’ teams saw tremendous success, to the tune of 76-6 in football, 94-9 in basketball.

Following his three years as head coach for the Chicago Bears from 1930-32, Jones returned to Lake Forest and led the athletic department at Lake Forest College. There he also coached football, basketball and baseball. He led the LFC football team to two undefeated seasons in 1938 and 1940, and his LFC baseball teams won five consecutive conference titles.


#100YearsAgoToday Chicagoans and Lake Foresters were buzzing with news of a potential new club planned in Lake Forest (on an 80-acre site south of Westleigh and Green Bay - see map). To be named “El Mirasol,” after a club in Santa Barbara, this was to be a residential club community, with no golf course or athletic features (those being unnecessary given the proximity of Onwentsia, Old Elm, and Shoreacres). A central clubhouse would contain sumptuous patios, reception rooms and dining rooms along with sleeping quarters for servants; up to 40 members would erect their own cottages on the surrounding club grounds.

According to architect Benjamin Marshall, a promoter of the plan, “It is just a club to solve the servant question more than anything else. … There will be a system of small taxis maintained to carry the meals prepared at the central kitchen to the various residences and bungalows.”

At the time of all this press, no officers had been elected nor sketches of the clubhouse drawn. Of course, we know today that El Mirasol was never built; the idea was likely a casualty of the worsening economic climate as the U.S. entered a sharp deflationary recession. By 1922, the time of the map pictured, the tract of land under discussion had been subdivided into 10-acre lots and the club plan abandoned.



Last Week's Favorite:

Stephanie Schneider  “OK, soon as I drop my baton you all run like rabbits. First one over the finish line gets a solo during half-time.”

Share your caption for this fabulous photo!

Email your captions to Alex at



#Wedding Wednesday Enjoy this popular post from the History Center's weekly Facebook campaign

On July 23, 1927, Mari Smith and M. Scott Bromwell were married at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest. The reception was held at 1185 Elm Tree, the home of the bride's parents, Solomon A. Smith (president of Northern Trust) and Frederika Shumway Smith (later an author of books for children).

"Ivory satin embellished with rose point sleeves and yoke from her great-grandmother's wedding gown" formed Mari Smith's "bridal array," accented by "lilies of the valley and yellow Pernet roses."

The couple was apparently "pursued by members of the bridal party" as a prank while motoring to the train station for their honeymoon; fortunately, the Lake Forest police formed a roadblock and detained the pursuers "on the pretext of examining their license numbers."

If you have old wedding photos please send them our way!

We're looking for more photos for this ongoing feature. Please email your wedding photos (with a brief description) to Laurie Stein at


#CoolerByTheLake Reverse of this photograph reads, "Short pier north of original bathhouse 1927?" Woman is unidentified.

A New Way to Give Back!

Have a Special Occasion Coming Up and Looking for a Unique Way to Celebrate?

You can now celebrate milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. by hosting a fundraiser on Instagram or Facebook and supporting your favorite cause. With the launch of their new personal donation pages, Instagram (and Facebook) are making it super easy to raise money for local non-profits and the causes you care about. 

To create a personal fundraiser on Instagram:

  • Tap “Edit Profile;”
  • “Add Fundraiser;”
  • “Raise Money;”
  • Choose a photo;
  • Select a fundraiser category and add details;
  • Enter your information on Stripe, the payment processor; and,
  • Tap “Send.”

It's that easy! Hmmmn. Have a birthday coming up? The History Center would love to help you celebrate!

Lisa Frey is available to assist with setup if you're new to Instagram or Facebook. Please don't hesitate to contact her at


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