Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Glen Rowan

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Institution Name: Lake Forest College
Original/Historic Place Name: Glen Rowan
Location on Campus: 500 N. Sheridan Rd.
Date(s) of Construction:
1908-1909original construction Shaw, Howard Van Doren
Designer: Howard Van Doren Shaw
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: pressed brick and Bedford limestone
Roof: slate
ca. 1909private residence (of Clifford W. Barnes and Alice Reid Barnes, who are closely associated with the history of the college and donated Reid Hall and Holt Chapel)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (guest house and conference and entertaining center)

Glen Rowan was built by the second generation of the wholesaler grocer family, the Reids (Reid, Murdoch & Company [brand Monarch], Chicago). The previous main estate house, called the Lilacs, was demolished in 1872. The architect, Howard Van Doren Shaw, attended Yale with Barnes, with the latter graduating two years earlier in 1888. The house follows a Beaux-Arts or classic central hall plan, which is masked by the irregular English-traditional style and massing of the house. Key in this was the inclusion of the exterior terrace as a room off the central gallery, opposite the dining room. The house is handsomely detailed with plasterwork, Tiffany fixtures, and Mercer Arts & Crafts tiles in the study. The stairway was enclosed around 1970 for fire code purposes during the adaptive reuse as a conference center. Otherwise the house is very well preserved and includes some original furnishings, including Renaissance chairs in the gallery and a sideboard in the study inglenook.

Barnes was a disciple of Rausenbusch's social gospel, coming with William Rainey Harper to the University of Chicago in 1892 and then allying with Jane Addams of Hull House in the settlement house movement. Early in the twentieth century he led crusades for women's rights and protection, was the first president of the Chicago Community Trust, and founded the Chicago Sunday Evening Club in Orchestra Hall as a positive influence for young people living away from home in the city. After his death in 1944, his daughter Lilace Reid Barnes continued his reform work, serving as world president of the YWCA movement and also working for open housing in Chicago and Lake County. She was the hostess in the summer of 1967 for Martin Luther King's only visit to Lake County to attend a casual meeting with real estate leaders to seek some compromises.


Coventry, Kim, Daniel Meyer, and Arthur H. Miller. Classic Country Estates of Lake Forest: Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 1856-1940. New York: W. W. Norton, 2003.

Lake Forest Historic District [including Lake Forest College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1978.

Miller, Arthur H., and Shirley M. Paddock. Lake Forest: People, Estates, and Culture. Chicago: Arcadia Press, 2000.

Schulze, Franz, Rosemary Cowler, and Arthur H. Miller. 30 Miles North: A History of Lake Forest College, Its Town and Its City of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.


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Last update: November 2006