Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Young Hall, North Hall, and Patterson Lodge

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Institution Name: Lake Forest College
Original/Historic Place Name: University Hall, Lake Forest Academy, and President's House
Location on Campus: entrance to Middle Campus
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1878-1880original construction Welch, Leon C.
1981-1982renovation of Young Hall Unknown
Type of Place: Building group
Style(s) of majority of buildings: Other: Second Empire
Style(s) of minority of buildings: Victorian, Regionalist/Vernacular
Building group type: Other: the crescent arrangement; may have been influenced by English-trained landscape gardener William Gordon, formerly on staff at the Kensington Palace gardens, when Victoria (as a child) lived there with her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
Relationship to landscape:
none specified
Ideas associated with building group:
none specified
ca. 1878old main (Young Hall)
1880-1918president's house (President's House)
ca. 1898residence hall (North Hall)
ca. 1898classrooms (North Hall)
ca. 1920-ca.1935other (Young Hall: summer residence for Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture)
ca. 2004-present (2007)admissions office (President's House, now Patterson Lodge; it also houses financial aid)
ca. 2004-present (2007)academic department building (Young Hall: history, economics, politics, and mathematics)
ca. 2004-present (2007)administration (Young Hall: includes Dean of Students, Continuing Education, and Minority Affairs; North Hall houses the Business office, Registrar, Dean of Faculty, Office of the President, and development and alumni affairs)

Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterLake Forest Historic District (1978)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

These three buildings arranged in a crescent have changed very little in outward appearance, and both North and Patterson retain significant original interior features (millwork, fireplaces, room layouts, etc.). Young Hall was renovated extensively for fire compliance in 1981-1982, but many original room configurations and some millwork on the fifth floor were retained. Young Hall is one of the few surviving post-Chicago Fire large structures to survive in the region, as is North Hall. Among post-Fire Second Empire detached houses in the Chicago area, Patterson is one of only a few in its original condition, and the only survivor of this type in Lake Forest, which did have a number of 1880 brick house which were all eventually demolished. The surviving Eastlake interiors provide a window to a style otherwise known in Chicago almost exclusively through photographs and books such as David Lowe's Lost Chicago.

This crescent of buildings played many significant roles in U.S. educational, social, and cultural history. Early professors to teach in Young Hall included James Mark Baldwin, by one scholar considered the founder of psychology second only to William James; Elisha Gray, inventor of components which made the telephone possible; and a group of botanists including John M. Coulter who were precursors to the study of plant succession ecology in this country in the mid 1890s. Notable early students included Theodore and Paul Starrett (1880s), who after working with Daniel Burnham developed the methods for construction of modern steel high-rise buildings. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Young Hall in summers housed the Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture, a nationally-significant program modeled on the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, to train the top graduates of architecture and landscape architecture programs from the east and Midwest. The program was sponsored by the Lake Forest Garden Club and L.A. Ferrucciio Vitale, of New York. One more recent nationally-significant scholar to teach in Young was Franz Schulze, chair of art there in the 1960s, and later a significant scholar on Chicago art and on modern architecture. When the library was housed in Young before 1900, it was the subject of a book catalog published in 1893 by librarian Hiram Stanley.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Lake Forest Historic District [including Lake Forest College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1978.

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

II. Location of other data:
University: Library
Government Offices

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