History and Architecture of Barat College's Main Building

by Arthur Miller
February 7, 2006

Currently under discussion is the adaptive re-use of the Barat College campus, Sheridan Road at Westleigh Road, Lake Forest. Barat’s original 1904 building is located in the 1976-organized east Lake Forest Historic District, and since a 1998 ordinance under the jurisdiction of the local Historic Preservation Commission. What follows are four documents, three of which were prepared by me or in which I had a role. These three are articles from the winter and spring 1997 numbers of Barat’s alumni magazine, Communiqué. I wrote when my daughter, Janelle Miller Moravek, was on the Barat development staff. The first one deals with the history and architecture of the 1904 building. The second one adds information about the senior architect, James Egan. The third discusses the problem of information about the campus landscape. Finally, a fourth item, a typescript, by a member of Barat’s Sacred Heart community, is a record of a program twenty years ago for the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society on the history and architecture the 1920s Chapel at Barat.

This information is nearly ten years old, and new material has turned up about some issues. Soon after this a course was taught by Susan Benjamin, an architectural historian, which uncovered more, as well. The only thing I would add to my text about the architecture of the 1904 building would be to follow architect Thomas Rajkovich’s lead to seeing the influence of architect Christopher Wren in Egan & Prindeville’s design, perhaps especially William and Mary’s Wren Building of the late 17th and early 18th Cs. While the style is classic, much of Egan’s impulse (grandeur of scale and site, activity on the east façade, curving stairwell on the southeast façade, etc.) seems a revival of baroque tendencies.

1. History and Architecture of the 1904 Barat building article (From Communiqué, Winter 1997)

2. Architect Egan article (From Communiqué, Spring 1997)

3. Landscape article (From Communiqué, Spring 1997)

4. Chapel typescript

Arthur H. Miller serves on the Board of Directors of the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation and is Archivist and Librarian for Special Collections, Donnelley and Lee Library, LIT, Lake Forest College (amiller@lakeforest.edu; 847-735-5064).