News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Whether They ‘Say Yes’ or ‘No Thanks,’ Scots Will Forever Be Part of Lake Forest …

Yes, that's an ostrich that Lake Forest/Scotsman David McLennan is riding.

Lake Forester/Scotsman Donald Roderick McLennan, founder of Marsh & McLennan, rides an ostrich.

By Sam Eichner, GazeboNews reporter

Many Lake Foresters are aware of the simple yes or no question Scottish voters will face on September 18, the resultant outcome of which will either see Scotland resolutely declare independence from the U.K. or remain under its wing.

Fewer, however, are aware of the integral role Scots played in the establishment of Lake Forest around the turn of the 20th century.

“They weren’t the majority of the residents,” said Scottish-born Lake Bluff resident David Forlow, an active member of the Illinois’ St. Andrew Society, “but they were the backbone.”

Lake Forest, Forlow said, was founded by Presbyterians who, seeking refuge from the hotbed of vice and sin that was 19th century Chicago, found a quieter home in the country up north.  These settlers bought much of the land on the east side of Lake Forest with the intention of building a planned community, which would include a school for boys as well as a college (now known as Lake Forest College).

The Presbyterian Church is the national church of Scotland, and many members of this specific church were either native born or first-generation Scots.

Vestiges of Lake Forest’s Scottish roots are visible today.  Take a stroll around Lake Forest College, and you’ll notice that a number of the campus buildings — like Stuart Commons, Patterson Lodge, and Reid Hall — are named after prominent area Scots. Onwentsia and Deerpath? Both courses were designed by Scots. And then there’s Lake Forest Open Lands’ annual Bagpipes and Bonfire event, whose mass pipe band and kilted skydivers are about as Scottish as it gets; though the celebration only officially dates back to 1988, Forlow said it originated decades earlier, when old Scots up and down Green Bay Road would converge upon Shaw Prairie to pass around some booze and light a bonfire. (The 27th Annual Bagpipes & Bonfire is on September 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Middlefork Farm Nature Preserve in Lake Forest.)

As for the “Say Yes”/”No Thanks” issue, Forlow said he has cousins in Scotland who fall on both sides; while he doesn’t feel right telling his countrymen how to vote, he believes the referendum will ultimately fail in a close vote.

At least one Chicago Scot, however, is openly hoping for a different outcome; Jack Crombie, who owns the Scottish pub Duke Of Perth, wrote in an e-mail to GazeboNews: “A free people with a proud history, their own legal and education systems, a clearly different attitude towards the place of a man in society, and with their own national aspirations–I for one hope that they seize this incredible and rare opportunity.”

As of Sunday evening, The Guardian suggested that the referendum was too close to call.  Yet, though the state of Scotland is uncertain, Lake Forest can rest easy: a piece of the country will remain here — in the schools, events, and institutions — no matter what the result.

Below are just a handful of the over 2,000 photos Forlow and others collected for a documentary, “Scots In Lake Forest,” which will be presented at the Scottish American History Museum in Chicago next month.

“If someone didn’t save or scan the information,  who knows what would’ve happened with it,” Forlow said of the project. “We’re proud of our heritage.”




Neil Campbell, who served as Lake Forest City Manager, is pictured with Ian Campbell, the Duke of Argyll, during a visit to Scotland.



Neil Campbell, his wife, daughter and 6-week old granddaughter.



A newspaper clipping showing Lake Forest’s Alex Pirie being awarded the Ryder Cup.  Pirie was the first golf pro at Old Elm Golf Course. (As far as Forlow knows, he bears no relation to the department store, Carson Pirie Scott.)



John J. Murdock, who lived in Lake Bluff and ran Keith Vaudeville Theaters, which later merged with Joseph Kennedy’s movie studio to become RKO Pictures.





William Marshall, at Onwentsia Golf Club, circa 1897.  Marshall was Onwentsia’s first golf pro, and finished just a few storkes behind fellow Scot Alex Smith in the U.S. Open. (He bears no relation to the department store, Marshall Fields.)



The Marshall’s family photo.



William Marshall, circa 1910, who built the first ever house on Attridge Road in Lake Forest.



The 19th Annual Meeting for the Professional Golfers’ Association of America, of which Alex Pirie was elected president.




Forlow said Scottish-born George Findlay, shown above with a bull, and his uncle James Anderson imported the first ever registered herd of Angus cattle to the U.S. from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. When the cattle got to Lake Forest, they were first kept where the CVS is today on Western Avenue.

Findlay then ran the XIT ranch in Texas, which covered three million acres, and later became president of the first bank in Lake Forest. Anderson founded the second bank in town, and the two banks eventually merged.

The big red brick building at the corner of Deer Path and Western avenues, where Walgreens is housed, is the Anderson Building named for James. His grandson was Stanley Anderson, a name well known in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. He designed Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest Hospital, much of downtown Lake Forest, some of downtown Lake Bluff and dozens of big homes in both towns.


All photos shared by David Forlow of Lake Bluff.


Yes that’s an ostrich, and it’s one of Forlow’s favorite photos of the 2,000 that he and others collected for the documentary. The ostrich’s passenger is Donald Roderick McLennan, founder of Marsh & McLennan — today, a multibillion dollar company. Donald built Stornoway House on Lake Road (now Wrigley’s house). The McLennan family was from Stornoway, Scotland, hence the home’s name. His grandson Rev. Scotty McLennan is the basis for the Rev. Scotty character in the Doonesbury comic strip, who wears a “bunnet”–a Scottish tartan.


All photos shared by David Forlow of Lake Bluff.


Stonebridge Does Not Comply With Lake Bluff’s Comprehensive Plan

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Rick Lesser of Lake Bluff. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.


GazeboNews Reader Forum

By Rick Lesser of Lake Bluff

The Lake Bluff Comprehensive Plan calls for transitional housing on the Stonebridge site and provides that for this site any development should be: “a compatible transition between the R-2 area to the north and the E-2 area to the south.”

Villages, like, Lake Bluff, are encouraged by state law to adopt a comprehensive plan both to promote harmonious development and to advise residents long in advance on the Village’s land use plans. Comprehensive plans, if followed, create a legal presumption: zoning changes which comply with the comprehensive plan are legally presumed valid. The housing to the south of the site has seven residences on about 70 acres. That’s 0.1 units/acre.

North of the Stonebridge site is the West Terrace, has 103 acres subdivided into 202 built lots; that’s 1.96 houses per acre. The average between the area to the South and the area to the North, if transitional, should be roughly 1.03 houses per acre. But the current Stonebridge developer (SB2011 LLC) is asking for 98 units on 45 acres, 2.18 houses per acre. That’s more than twice a “compatible transition.”

When you hear Stonebridge call its proposal a “pocket neighborhood”, what that means is that the development would be very different from the surrounding areas. That’s why it’s a “pocket”; because it’s starkly different.

Density matters for many reasons. Obviously, there would be much more traffic. Ninety-eight new houses means at least 200 new cars on Green Bay Road. SB2011 LLC hired the same traffic engineering consultant (KLOA) as the first developer had used. KLOA went to the then-operating Harrison Conference Center, found out when the facility was hosting an event, and then counted the cars going to the event. The consultant then compared that traffic to a nursing facility, and reported that the proposed new development would dramatically lower traffic. KLOA has no credibility.

High-density housing also impacts the housing values of the surrounding area. Despite SB2011’s pie-in-the-sky predicted sales prices, two bedroom cluster homes on 45 ft. lots are not really going to sell for more than the 3 to 5 bedroom houses on 75 ft. lots in the West Terrace.

The cluster homes will undercut prices. There is nothing transitional or compatible about this proposal. Neither the PC/ZBA nor the Village Board has any obligation to veer from the Comprehensive Plan for SB2011 LLC.

The Village is always on safe legal ground when it follows the comprehensive plan. This will require saying “no’. Sometimes, that’s the job of the PC/ZBA.

Hopefully, residents will come out to the Village Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 7:00 pm, to speak to the PC/ZBA. I know that we are all (except SB2011 and its paid spokespersons) tired of this issue. We are not getting paid to be there. But if you love this community and want to see our community remain a harmonious neighborhood, I hope you will join me in standing up for the Lake Bluff Comprehensive Plan.

Click on the following image to read more pages of the Lake Bluff Comprehensive Plan


Can You Handle The Heat? Ribfest Seeks New Competition

By Matt Nielsen of the Lake Bluff Barbeque Society

Barbecue season has been in full swing for many members of the community but for a select few it is only now just firing up! On Saturday, October 4, the Lake Bluff Barbeque Society will host its annual, all-day RibFest on the Village Green in Lake Bluff. This annual event brings out the most committed barbecue enthusiasts to strut their stuff in this rib-only barbecue competition. No need to travel south of the Mason-Dixon line to enjoy mouth watering tastings from the twenty teams (while supplies last). Founded in 2002 by the backyard BBQ as a fun community event, RibFest has quickly grown into the richest barbecue competition on the Lake Bluff circuit.

Do you have what it takes to compete for the glory of being named Grand Champion? Join us in this prestigious competition. Eligible teams must have the chief cook residing or working in the Village of Lake Bluff, Lake Bluff Park District or Lake Bluff Elementary School District boundaries.

For more information and the Lake Bluff Barbeque Society 2014 Rules and Regulations please contact Eric Welles at

All entries MUST be received by Sunday, September 21st.

Next Stonebridge Public Hearing is Sept. 17

If you want to speak up about Stonebridge in Lake Bluff, plan to attend the Lake Bluff Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17 in Village Hall. This is a continuation of a public hearing that took place on Aug. 20 when The Roanoke Group LLC gave a presentation seeking approval of a preliminary development plan for the 47-acre Stonebridge property at 136 Green Bay Road.

That meeting went on for a lengthy clip before being tabled until the PCZBA’s monthly meeting this month. The Lake Bluff website states that “it is anticipated that a portion of the meeting will be dedicated to comments and testimony from the public.”

There are some links of interest about Stonebridge on the Village of Lake Bluff website:

  • a video of the Aug. 20 PCZBA meeting
  • The agenda for the Sept. 17 PCZBA meeting as well as the minutes from the Aug. 20 meeting
  • A summary of the Aug. 20 meeting and many additional links.
  • A GazeboNews Reader Forum by Rick Lesser of Lake Bluff regarding the Stonebridge Easement



Lake Bluff School Caucus Seeks Candidates for District 65 & 115 School Boards

Submitted by the Lake Bluff School Caucus

Do you like a challenge? Are you a team player willing to make our community stronger? The Lake Bluff School Caucus is currently seeking candidates for the April 2015 Lake Bluff School District 65 and Lake Forest High School District 115 Board of Education elections.

If you are interested in running for school board or want more information, please go to the Lake Bluff School Caucus website at The deadline to apply for consideration by the Caucus is October 31, 2014.

Serving on the School Board gives you the opportunity to make a significant impact on education, facilities and property taxes in our community. Currently there are three seats for the District 65 Board of Education up for re-election and one open seat for the District 115 Board of Education. Each elected position serves a four-year term.

If you have any questions, please email the Lake Bluff School Caucus at

Car Burglaries On The Rise in Highland Park

This is from the Highland Park Police Department and is worth noting— lock your cars and take your phone, wallet, purse and other valuables with you…

Highland Park has experienced an increase in car burglaries over the past two weeks, particularly in the northeast. These burglaries are occurring at all hours of the day and night and involve different types of entry. Many of the vehicles are unlocked, but in some cases, broken windows were the method of gaining entry. The one thing that all these crimes had in common was that valuable items were left in plain view. Please take the following precautions to avoid becoming a victim of these crimes:

  • Always lock your car even if it is in your driveway or in front of your home.
  • Do not leave valuable items in your car in plain view. Purses, wallets, electronic items, and shopping purchases should be removed or secured in the trunk out of sight.
  • Always park in a well lit area if possible, and leave your outside lights on overnight if your car is in your driveway.
  • Consider motion activated outdoor lighting or lighting on timers.
  • Make sure your garage door is closed and any access door into the garage is secured including the door from the garage to your home.
  • Consider a car alarm in conjunction with an alarm for your home. Many insurance companies offer a discount on premiums for property with alarms.
  • Report any suspicious persons or activity in your neighborhood to the Police Department. Crime prevention only works when the community takes an active role.
  • Consider joining the City’s Neighborhood Leader Program. Call (847) 926-1000 for more information.

For additional information, please contact the Police Department Non-Emergency line at (847) 432-7730.

First Presbyterian Church Ready To Rummage

Submitted by First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

Lake Forest, Ill. – Sept. 10, 2014 – First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest will host its Fall Rummage Sale full of seasonal and timeless goods from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 27 at 700 N Sheridan Road in Lake Forest. The Rummage Sale is open to all and will be held in the lower level of the church building.

Shoppers can expect to find clean, usable items from winter outerwear and accessories; men’s, women’s and children’s clothes; to furniture, toys, linens, home décor, winter sports equipment, shoes and boots.

“The Rummage Sale is a great fellowship opportunity for members of the church and community,” said Rev. Dr. Christine Chakoian, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest’s senior pastor. “It also helps fund our mission partners while serving families in need.”

Since its inception in 1950, this event has contributed more than $5 million to First Presbyterian’s Mission program. Mission provides grants to local and global partner organizations that help nurture faith development, pastoral care and church leadership support; empower youth and adults to achieve their potential through high-quality education; and/or meet the immediate needs of impoverished families while pursuing long-term solutions to address the effects of poverty.

On the day of the sale, shoppers can park in the Lake Forest city lots, at the Lake Forest Metra station parking lot and on the street, unless otherwise marked as a “no parking” zone. Cash, check and credit cards (American Express, Visa or Mastercard) are accepted at the sale.

First Presbyterian is no longer collecting donations for the fall Rummage Sale but welcome those who would like to volunteer. For more information about volunteering, contact the church at (847) 234-6250 or sign up at

About First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest
Our mission at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest is to send inspired and well-equipped followers of Jesus into the world, loving and serving God in their daily lives. We invite you to join us in these resilient Christian practices: worship, learn, connect, serve and invite. Find out more about our worship services, study groups, mission outreach and fellowship opportunities by visiting our website at or calling us at (847) 234-6250.

Scouts Win!

By Kevin Reitman, JWC Media sports editor

Lake Forest High School’s football team improved to 3-0 on the season with a convincing 37-14 victory over host Wauconda on Friday night.

There were plenty of stars in this one for the Scouts.

Senior Kyle Gattari opened LF’s scoring with a 21-yard field goal. He also hit a 32-yarder in the second period and 23-yard in the third quarter. He also was 4 for 4 on PAT kicks.

Running back Wes Janeck continues to be very production. He had a pair of touchdown runs, including an 18-yarder in the second quarter and a 3-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Fellow running back Quinn Julian also found the end zone with a 4-yard run in the first quarter.
Senior linebacker Jack Traynor came up with big plays all night. He scored on a 20-yard interception return in the second quarter. He also had a 16-yard sack in that frame.

The Scouts will travel to Stevenson (3-0) next Friday.

There’s A Reason For All Those Bees & Wasps

A Yellow Jacket takes a bite out of Cece Fawcett's prosciutto panino this week at Caputo's in Lake Forest

A Yellow Jacket chomps on Cece Fawcett’s prosciutto panino at Caputo’s in Lake Forest

By Sam Eichner, GazeboNews reporter

They’re all over the place.

On the sidelines of neighborhood soccer games. Buzzing around as you enjoy a quick bite for lunch on an otherwise serene outdoor patio. Circling ever closer as you walk from house to car …

“Lisa killed 20 yesterday,” Ravinia Coffee Station owner Josh Weissbard said recently, referring to his co-worker’s trials and tribulations with this summer’s particularly prevalent army of bees and wasps. “They’re everywhere, and everyone’s having the same problem.”

Like Mark Wescott, owner of Market House on the Square, a restaurant known in summer months for its pleasant al fresco seating in downtown Lake Forest.

“The bees have been a perennial problem,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Though I actually think the previous summers haven’t been as bad, and that’s why this year seems worse.”

Another reason this year might be worse than years previous: the abundance of food in the open spaces along the North Shore.

“If there is an increase [of bees],” President of Lake Bluff Open Lands Larry McCotter wrote in an e-mail, “it might be due to the fact that many species of plants are having a bumper year due to the regular rain that just won’t quit.” McCotter, himself a recent victim of a Yellow Jacket sting, went said he has never seen so much sweet white clover, garlic mustard, and Queen Anne’s Lace growing in the area.

Heller Nature Center Naturalist Jessica Reyes has noticed significantly more bees coming out within the last couple of weeks than they have all summer and offered a similar explanation as McCotter:

“Last year, I didn’t see a lot of Golden Rod, and this year, I’m seeing tons of it,” Reyes said.  Golden Rod is one of the last flowers in the area to bloom before winter; naturally, it’s a big hit amongst bees this time of year, as they go about building up a reserve of pollen in preparation for the North Shore’s colder months.

None of this seems to surprise Dr. Steve Edelstein, an emergency physician at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. Though he has certainly seen an “inordinate number of bee and insect stings” as of late, he always seems to notice more bees and wasps around in late summer and early fall.

Wasps, in particular, are notoriously nasty right now. As they near the end of their life cycle and the nest’s queens stop laying eggs, wasps no longer feel it necessary to feed their young their standard diet of insects and other arthropods. Instead, they tend to refocus their attention on dessert—i.e. the sweets and other carbohydrates you find in your own food—which goes a long way in explaining why you are more likely to find them hovering around your end-of-summer picnics and barbecues.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many natural solutions for dealing with bees or wasps, other than to be extra vigilant when it comes to leftover crumbs and spills. People should be wary, too, of using insecticides on their plants, as bees play an extremely important role in our ecosystem, and are more likely than wasps to bring the poison back to their hive.

If you do happen to get stung, Dr. Edelstein advises people not to panic.  Almost all stings can be treated with ice, and either an antihistamine or steroid cream, like hydrocortisone. However, any systemic symptoms outside of the skin–trouble breathing or a clogging of the airway–should be treated at the emergency room.

LFHS School Board President Resigns; District Seeks Replacement

By Adrienne Fawcett

Todd Burgener resigned from the Lake Forest High School Board of Education on Sept. 5. Board VP Dick Block will serve as president pro temin the interim.

Todd Burgener

Todd Burgener

On Sept. 11, Burgener told GazeboNews: “Between personal and professional commitments, it had become clear that I would not be able to give the District the attention it deserves. I’m disappointed, as I know that, over the past six and a half years, I’ve gotten more from my involvement than I could ever put in. But, I know that the remaining Board is strong and that good candidates exist to fill the vacancy my resignation produced.”

He added: “Everyone should be really proud of where LFHS is today; but, even more so, where it is heading. The ambition of Mike Simeck and the team he has assembled is tremendous. They, with the support of the Board, faculty and the community, will take a great place and make it even better. Our kids and our community will be better for it.”

Block announced Burgener’s resignation at the D-115 board meeting on Sept. 9. He said: “Our friend and fellow board member and board president Todd Burgener has resigned from the board as of last Friday. So I will serve as pres pro tem in the interim. Todd has made a very difficult decision that does not come easily to him. Todd cares very deeply about the responsibilities here and the high school, but as a result of a sudden and unexpected increase in his work responsibilities, he felt it was in the best interest of the district and his family that he step away from something, and unfortunately it had to be the high school.”

D-115 is seeking a replacement for Burgener’s spot on the board. Click here for more information and/or to apply.