Our History in Lake Bluff
Lake Bluff holds a very important spot in my heart. First of all, Allan's first job the year we were married  was at the Junior High School in Lake Bluff, Illinois. Then in 1973, we moved to Lake Bluff and rented an historic Duplex on Ravine Avenue. It was the Gardener's Quarters of one of the Field Estates [as in the Marshall Field Retail people'. It was a remarkable place that backed up to a beautiful ravine and was very, very near to Lake Michigan. It had 3 bedrooms, a bath and a half, a Living room, a Dining room, and a basement. We lived there a few years and loved it ever so much. See Photograph #1
The first house that we ever purchased was in Lake Bluff and was a very modern home that had "tongue-in-groove" wooden ceilings. It had four bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a huge kitchen, a living room with fireplace, a dining room, a utility room, a family room, full basement, and a 2-car attached garage. This was during the 1970's when the Real Estate Market in Lake Bluff was really "booming". We lived here for two years and sold it the day it went on the market! See Photograph#2 We then purchased a small Victorian on Scranton Avenue that was painted blue [at the time]. It had no basement, no garage. There were two bedrooms, two parlors, a kitchen, a dining room, and a small porch/family room. We only lived here for one summer because it was just too small. It was a darling house and very near to Lake Michigan [one block]. See Photograph ##
Then we purchased an adorable 1929 Cape Cod on Foss Court [a dead-end very short street] that was about 2 blocks from Allan's school. It had beautiful dark hardwood floors and woodwork, a living room with fireplace, a dining room, newly remodeled kitchen, eat-in room off the kitchen, 1 1/2 baths, two large bedrooms, a den/family room, and a finished basement that looked like a British Pub. The garage was a detached old one. This was a lovely home in a delightful neighborhood. See Photograph#4
We left Foss Court at the end of the 1980's when we built a home on a golf course in Antioch, Illinois. It was so sad to say goodbye to this fabulous town called Lake Bluff
Lake Bluff Children's Home
Another reason that Lake Bluff is important to me and Allan is that we adopted our daughter Jill in 1969 from the Lake Bluff Children's Home. This facility permanently closed in 1969; Jill was one of, if not the last child, who was adopted from Lake Bluff Children's Home!
The Lake Bluff Orphanage was founded in 1895. It was originally called The Methodist Deaconesses Orphanage; however, it later became known as the Lake Bluff Children's Home.
In 1894 when times were really financially bad, especially in Chicago. At that time thousands of children were given up for adoption because their parents could not afford to care for them. The home actually started with a Miss Abigail Simonds of the Chicago Deaconess Home. She brought six homeless children from Chicago to Lake Bluff where financial assistance from James Hobbs (who was president of the Lake Bluff Camp Meeting Association ) and his wife Marilla made it possible to keep them here.
The orphanage grew from the original six children to about 200 by 1940. Here they lived in six Georgian style brick buildings. Literature says that the orphanage was "self-sufficient". It had its own bakery, health center, playground, and laundry.
Starting in the late 1950's foster care came into being. Then by the early 1970's, foster placement took over the role of the orphanage. Thus, the Lake Bluff Home's For Children closed forever. The community tried to sell the buildings but to no avail.
Our Jill went to "after-school day care there for a few years, but in 1979 the property was sold and all the buildings were razed. It was a sad sight to see it destroyed; I even viewed the metal crib that Jill was in the first time we saw her, and it made me cry. So, when I went to theVliet Museum in September of 2007 and saw their wonderful exhibit about Lake Bluff Home's for Children, it conjured up many fond memories.
You have to realize that this institution covered the entire 200 block of Scranton Avenue! Thus, for most of the 20th century, it was a recognizable and unique feature of Lake Bluff.
Services there included ADOPTION and individual foster home placement. I'm so glad that it was there for us when we needed it. All three of us, Jill, Allan, and I, are proud to say that Jill was adopted from Lake Bluff Homes for Children.
Tidbits about Lake Bluff
Lake Bluff is not just a sleepy little "hamlet". It has an interesting history and unique qualities.
I learned in the museum about some of the products that have been or are still made in Lake Bluff:
a. Embosography Display Manufacturing Company (they make illuminated signs).
b. Cloes Brickyard [make bricks]
c. Lindberg Hobbies [ made Model Kits]
d. Piano Roll Center [made music rolls for player pianos]
e. Plan a Room Company
f. Lake Bluff Honey
g. Berg Corporation [made picnic utensils]
h. Bradley & Metcalf Company [Made boots and shoes} (See Photo #1)
A few films have been filed in Lake Bluff. "A Wedding" was filmed in Lake Bluff near the border and the Great Lakes Naval Facility; some scenes from "Ordinary People" were filmed here.
I met Robert Redford when he was filming her [no joke].
Between 1875 and 1899 a Lake Bluff Camp Meeting Association was established. Many Methodist & other evangelists used it as a summer camp. The temperance movement was "accelerated by the Camp meeting venue". At its peak, this summer community included a 3,000 seat tabernacle, several large wooden hotels, and a special railroad depot to shuttle people to the camp grounds.
But most interesting for me personally is the Architecture of this village. It has such variety:
Queen Anne, Cottage, Italianate, Prairie Style, Tudor Revival, T-Form, and Colonial Revival, to mention a few.
Around every corner, you learn something more about Lake Bluff, Illinois
Lovely Place to Visit; Lovely Place to Live
"Our Personal History with Lake Bluff, Illinois"
Allan and I learned about Lake Bluff, Illinois when he interviewed for a job in 1963. He got the job as an eighth grade math teacher at Lake Bluff Junior High School, and he taught there for two years before we went back to earn our Master's Degrees.
Then, in 1973, after 8 years in the western suburbs of Chicago, we moved to Lake Bluff because Allan had the opportunity to teach at the Junior High School once again.
We remained in Lake Bluff for about seven or eight years before building a house on the golf course in Antioch. Allan continued to teach at Lake Bluff Junior High School until 1993 when he retired from teaching.
During that time, we lived in four different homes.
"Unique Really Does Describe Lake Bluff"
All you have to do is drive into Lake Bluff, and you immediately realize that this is a different kind of community, a community with "character".
Lake Bluff is located about 35 miles north of Chicago and is bordered by Lake Forest to the south, Green Oaks to the West, Lake Michigan to the east, and Great Lakes Naval Training Center to the north.
It's a small community with a population of just over 6,000 residents. Lake Bluff has the historic east side and the newer west side. It has a public Golf Course, a Public Library and Museum, a public Swimming Pool, and a rather new walking/biking path. However, it's greatest natural asset is the bluff, the ravines, and the proximity to Lake Michigan.
But what I remember most about Lake Bluff is the large trees, the beautiful and varied architecturally vibrant homes, and the quaint downtown area.
Lake Bluff for pizza
The only thing I can really tell you about Lake Bluff is that it is home to one of my favorite pizza places, the Silo :-)
It's been there for as long as I can remember, I even had my sweet 16 birthday party there