Lake Bluff Stories

Explore Our Quirky Past!

Lillian Dell’s Drive: The Ups & Downs

Lillian Dell’s Drive is a long, meandering ravine-bed path that was pivotal to Native Americans, pioneers, summer guests and year-round villagers alike. But who was Lillian Dell? more...

Farewell to the Stearns Chimney

The Stearns Chimney has fallen. We hope the majestic remnant chimney that spanned three centuries overlooking Lake Michigan made a crashing roar when the last of its yellow-pink bricks dislodged and tumbled down the bluff more...

Jack Schuler & Crab Tree Farm

When Jack Schuler arrived at Crab Tree Farm, the bluff was at risk of collapse and development loomed over the storied 250-acre property. more...

Sledding Hill on the Prairie

Sledding is one of the best things about winter in prairie-flat Lake Bluff. For decades before the Park District sledding hill was built in 1994, kids would sled in the ravines and on the beach road. more...

Sunrise Surprise

Lake Bluff's lakefront park on Sunrise Avenue is called Sunrise Park today. But it wasn't always that way. more...

Nature’s Leafiest Temple

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr coined this phrase in Paris in 1849, but the words could easily describe Lake Bluff at any point in its history. more...

Leaning Tower of Pigeons

There is no clock in Village Hall tower, and there never has been. This will come as no surprise to those who have lived in Lake Bluff for at least a quarter of a century, but it’s true. more...

Puppetry Magic

Longtime Lake Bluff resident and educator Margaret Lindman created a magic world where stories are brought to life through artful performances featuring marionettes and hand puppets, which she lovingly created in her Lake Bluff home. more...

Wild Beasts of Yore

Early Lake Bluff setters encountered many of the wild beasts that we see today, including coyotes, fox, raccoon and groundhog. They also lived amongst wild pigeons, wolves and even the occasional panther. more...

The BenIda Chronicles

Ben Cloes was the youngest son of Lake Bluff’s first settlers. He and his wife Ida played a major role in Lake Bluff’s transformation from pioneer settlement to summer resort to incorporated Village. more...

What Is This Place?

Just what is that knobby-concrete building that looks like it’s been at 611 Walnut Avenue forever? The Walnut Garage has a long, interesting history that reflects the Village’s own narrative arc. more...

A Bridge To Nowhere

One hundred years ago, the Moffett Bridge at Sylvan Road and Ravine Avenue caused a major rift between Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. more...

Christmas at Lake Bluff Orphanage

Orphanage: the word conjures visions of dour, cold institutions with hungry children. A place where Christmas never happens. The Lake Bluff Orphanage, known as the Lake Bluff Children’s Home since 1955, was different. more...

What Does ‘Sparking’ Mean

The Prohibition movement had roots in early Lake Bluff, but not everyone was a fan, especially not members of The Kelly Klub. more...

Lake Bluff’s Irish Roots

The go-to place in the earliest days of Lake Bluff was an Irish pub called the Dwyer tavern, owned by William and Mary Dwyer and Mary’s brother Dr. Richard Murphy. more...

Checking in on Lake Bluff Hotels

From the 1870s to the 1890s, Lake Bluff had 30 hotels and boarding houses. But then, who wouldn’t want to summer here? more...

Washing Up Local History

Margaret Hawkins Rockwell was a fixture to generations of Lake Bluff school children. You know what else was really cool? Her wash tub. more...

Turkey Talk

A wild turkey took up residence in the Rockland Wetlands at Green Bay and Rockland roads in 2010, captivating people from all over the place. more...