Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Lake Forest College
Lake Forest College

Lake Forest College

In 1857, only two years after the completion of railroads connecting Chicago to the string of towns stretching north along the shore of Lake Michigan, the city and the college of Lake Forest were simultaneously established 30 miles north of Chicago. Their Presbyterian founders hired Almerin Hotchkiss to draw up plans for a small, bucolic city with the school as its hub, and Lake Forest Academy opened to four boys in 1858, in the town's first building. The school's growth (including the addition of college-level courses in 1860) halted abruptly with the coming of the Civil War and the aftermath of the Chicago Fire of 1871. It reopened in 1876 to both men and women, focused increasingly on the liberal arts, and grew steadily over the next several decades. Enrollment ballooned after passage of the GI Bill, as Presbyterianism became less central to the school's identity. After several name changes, it officially became Lake Forest College with the renewal of its charter in 1965. Though their founders envisioned them as adjoined institutions, the college and city serve different needs: while the city of Lake Forest remains among the nation's wealthiest, 85 percent of the college's 1,270 students received financial assistance in the 2001–2 academic year.

Schulze, Franz, Rosemary Cowler, and Arthur H. Miller. 30 Miles North: A History of Lake Forest College, Its Town, and Its City of Chicago. 2000.