The copper dome atop the Fifth Third Bank building at Deerpath Road & Western Avenue in Lake Forest is getting restored. Lake Forest Director of Community Development Catherine Czerniak said the project has been in the works since the blizzard of two years ago, when the dome’s copper insert near the windows on the top floor was ripped from the building. She said city inspectors found the panel, which was severely damaged, near the railroad tracks and returned it to the building owner.
Unfortunately, the panel could not be restored in its original condition, Ms. Czerniak said. However, the panel was used to make a new copper panel with all of the original detailing copied from the original panel.
The new copper panel will likely be left to patina naturally, eventually matching the rest of the dome, she added.
GazeboNews asked Arthur Miller, Lake Forest historian and archivist at Lake Forest College, for some background info on the building. Historically, the building at Deerpath & Western is the Blackler building, built in 1895 and perhaps designed by Pond & Pond, Chicago architects, which at the time was also working on the Bridgman house on College Road. Another possibility for the architect is Henry Ives Cobb.
The Blackler building was the first three-story, towered, west-of-the-tracks building on the main corner of the Western Avenue commercial district, said Art. By 1903 it was flanked by the three-story “Walgreens” –Anderson Block– building. The second floor had a public meeting hall, which in 1898 was the first location for The Church of the Holy Spirit. The ground floor housed the Blackler meat market, the original of what was Don’s Finest Foods until early 2008.
But that’s not all! The building influenced other structures in Lake Forest. Art said the Blackler design introduced the tower motif west of the tracks, followed up on in 1899 for City Hall and then context for Market Square’s towers designed 1912-15, built in 1916. It also was the long-time home of Lake forest Travel Travel.