Since 2007-08 a key focus of the Preservation Foundation has included the need to restore and rehabilitate Lake Forest’s historic, architecturally-significant east train station. The Foundation funded the 2009-completed Historic Structure Report by the firm of noted preservation architect Gunny Harboe. This helped the City gain two major federal grants and significant Metra assistance. These have funded the 2011 new slate roof, hipped passenger sheds, and restoration of the dormers and this year’s meticulous restoration of the stone, brick, mortar, and timber station exterior.
In the next phase, new washrooms will be built in the former south side freight office, a major upgrade from the current facilities. New research mostly by LFPF member and resident David Mattoon has discovered much of the information that aided in this process, including the original circa 1900 architects’ plans. To accommodate findings of the 2009 Harboe report and the new information about the historic interior, the Foundation seeks to provide a rehabilitated waiting room and ticket area that includes:
• New flooring equal in durability to the previous material that lasted from 1900 until the 1980s and reflects that historic character - $70,000.
• New waiting room wall wainscoting and upper wall surface; wainscoting like the original broad plank horizontal type still found in the 1903 Lake Bluff station by Frost & Granger - $25,000.
• Refurbished 1900-era benches, last rehabbed in the 1980s - $12,000.
• New lighting appropriately scaled and recalling the stations original combination gas and electric fixtures that have been documented from historic photographs of the station -$15,000.
The Foundation’s board of directors encourages a wide spectrum of community stakeholders to step up to make this renovation longer-lasting and respectful of the original design, while increasing its usefulness for the next 100 years and to be consistent with the handsomely restores exterior, resulting in a suitable gateway to Lake Forest, of which we can all be proud!