A key focus of the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation’s (LFPF) mission is to preserve and protect Lake Forest's architectural landmarks and treasures. One recent success coordinated by the LFPF began with a grass-roots neighborhood effort and resulted in a collaborative partnership among the North King Muir neighbors, the City of Lake Forest, and the LFPF.
The historic Castlegate Gates at the Waukegan Road entrance to the North King Muir subdivision were built in the early 1920s to showcase the beauty and potential of building homes in the northern portion of Deerpath Hills Estates. Over time, the gates fell into extreme disrepair. In response, a committee led by North King Muir residents Cheryl Killam, Andrea Cutting, and Maureen Grinnell looked for a way to “save” and restore the gates to their former glory. To increase interest and jump-start fundraising, a “Save the Castlegate Gates” presentation in the A.B. Dick Westmoreland carriage barn, a walking tour, and a reception were hosted by the LFPF on November 3, 2013. The presentation featured local historian Paul Bergmann, A.B. Dick family member Maddie Dugan, and Jim Opsitnik, the contractor who supervised the south gates restoration at King Muir and Deerpath Roads in 2012.Over 100 LFPF members and King Muir neighbors participated.
Work to restore the gates began within a month of the event and is virtually complete despite the inclement weather. Jim Opsitnik and his team were again engaged for this new project. One column was rebuilt from the ground up, utilizing the stones and cap from the original structure. Other repairs included tuck-pointing with new mortar that was of the same formula used in the 1920s and an improved foundation to prevent water seepage, which was responsible for much of the damage in the first place. Funding for the project came from residents of the North King Muir neighborhood, the City of Lake Forest, and contributions made to the LFPF Annual Fund, which is designed to preserve and protect Lake Forest architectural treasures.