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Historical Preservation Crusaders: Saving the Past for the Future Avisit to Lake Forest, Illinois is an experience that rivals Alice's journey through the looking glass. Compared to the modern skyscrapers and bustling streets of downtown Chicago, just thirty miles away, the ambience of this little suburb is almost otherworldly. Marrow, winding lanes, illuminated by old-fashioned gas street lamps, curve through wooded bluffs and bridge deep ravines. And along these rustic streets stand scores of palatial mansions, built mostly in the early 1900s by such American architects as David Adler, Henry Ives Cobb and Howard Van Doren Shaw. These elegant manors, like the many other historic structures of Lake Forest, are significant vestiges of the city's turn-of-the-century heyday. Their unique styles and architectural features are virtually inimitable now. Yet, like Alice's wonderland, the fabulous buildings of Lake Forest may some day exist only in the pages of books — and in the memories of those who were fortunate enough to have seen them for themselves. Gayle Dompke, wife of Chicago director Richard E. Dompke, and president of the Lake Forest Foundation for Historic Preservation which she organized three years ago, believes that much of the historic architecture of the city is significant enough to warrant its preservation for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Gayle is dedicating her time and utmost efforts toward the achievement of this goal. Bordered to the north and south by highly developed suburbs of Chicago's North Shore, Lake Forest is, in fact, an anachronism. Its atmosphere compels the mind to wander backward into a bygone era — an era in which the superwealthy of Chicago and the Midwest created a haven of luxury there by the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan. During the high-rolling years before the Great Depression, the whirlwind social schedules and Gatsby-like parties of Lake Forest's lords and ladies of the manors drew the attention of all the world. Although such carefree extravagance has been largely abandoned in modern times, the city remains as the legacy of a truly golden age — the like of which this country may never see again. Though few would deny the cultural value of preserving Lake Forest's irreplaceable architecture and landscapes, a practical question arises: who can afford it? For the overwhelming majority of our society, the cost of buying — and particularly maintaining — a fifty-room mansion is clearly prohibitive. Thousand-dollar monthly heating bills and ten-thousand-dollar yearly grounds-maintenance bills are not unusual among Lake Forest estate owners, and the amounts paid in property taxes are enough to boggle the mind. Yet even among those who are fortunate enough to be able to absorb the financial responsibilities of such a property, a secondary query arises: who needs it? 22
Saving the Past for the Future
Karales, James H.
|Subject||Lake Forest Foundation for Historic Preservation|
Dompke, Richard K.
Steele, Charles G.
Deloitte, Haskins & Sells. Chicago Office
DH&S Reports, Vol. 16, (1979 no. 2), p. 22-28
|Source||Originally published by: Deloitte, Haskins & Sells|
|Rights||Copyright and permission to republish held by: Deloitte; Photographs by James H. Karales|
|Format||PDF page image with corrected OCR scanned at 400 dpi|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi Library. Accounting Collection|