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Lake Forest Garden Club (1912 to present) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Lake Forest Garden Club (1912 to present)

Historical Note:

The Lake Forest Garden Club, a successor to the Garden Club of Illinois (1912-22), had begun experimenting with an annual summer program on estate design in 1916, with a program led at Gorton School (now Gorton Center) for landscape design students to study estate development.  In 1925, they introduced again at Gorton School an Institute of Landscape Architecture.  Early club leaders included Harriet Hammond McCormick, Kate Brewster, and Tiffany Blake. 

In 1926 this was succeeded by the Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture with Ferruccio Vitale as its director.  Vitale's program was modeled on the American Academy in Rome, with annual design competitions for annual Ryerson funded European traveling fellowships in both fields.  The attendees were the top graduates in the architecture and landscape design from several institutions, including the universities of Michigan, Illinois, Iowa State, etc. and also the Harvard School of Design. 

The participants sketched at notable local estates and collaborated on design problems, also meeting with visiting leaders in both fields.  The winners of the competitions were awarded traveling fellowships in Europe (Ryerson) or in the U.S. (Conde Nast). The program continued through 1931, but was suspended, the Foundation finally closing down in 1935.  Trustees were spouses often of LF Garden Club members or leading professionals, such as David Adler. 

The program was housed at Lake Forest College each summer, though in the last year, 1931, the studio and study space was moved to the newly opened Lake Forest (town) Library, 361 E. Deerpath.  In 1929 the President of Lake Forest, Herbert Moore, proposed building a new permanent home on campus for the Foundation, but the economic collapse of 1929 and following made this impossible.

In 1933, when the GCA visited Chicago (first year of the Century of Progress exhibition) as it had in 1919, the Lake Forest club produced a book that was a guide to gardens along the North shore, and reflecting a greater appreciation of t he landscape art than had the 1919 booklet.  this reflected the impact on the club of the exposure from the FALA experience, summers 1926-31.


Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture.  Board of Trustees.  Minutes, 1926-35.

Lake Forest College.  Annual Report of the President, 1929.

Lake Forest Garden Club.  Archives.  On deposit, Lake Forest College library Special Collections. 

Schnadelbach, R.Terry.  Ferruccio Vitale: Landscape Architect of the Country Place Era.  New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001.

Note Author: Arthur H. Miller

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