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Friday, January 30, 2009

Tower Lakes

In June 1924, the Wauconda Leader newspaper called Tower Lakes "one of the most beautiful spots in northern Illinois."

The photograph became a colorized Curt Teich postcard in 1927 as shown below. Tower Lakes is located south of Wauconda on Route 59.

The new subdivision was the brainchild of Myron Detrick and William Brooks. Detrick was the president of the Palatine, Lake Zurich & Wauconda Railroad (founded in 1911), and Brooks a local farmer and real estate developer. One thought is that Detrick was trying to drum up business for the PLZ&W RR, by selling cottages to potential commuters. Unfortunately for him, the railroad went out of business in 1924.

By all accounts, the location seemed perfect, but by 1926, the group sold the property to investors led

by businessman-lawyer, Nazareth Barsumian, an immigrant from Armenia. Barsumian first saw Tower Lakes in the fall of 1925, was captivated by its beauty, and realized its potential for development. He and his Evanston-based partners turned the property into a residential subdivision, naming it Tower Lakes Estates.

Barsumian put together a stunning binder of photographs promoting the subdivision, including the panorama above, and a series of "slice of life" photos including this boy and his collie dog with the text: "Hee-yah, Dog!" The photos transport the viewer to another time and place, filled with slow, lazy days by the water and a dog as faithful and intelligent as Lassie.

The development of the Tower Lakes Estates began slowly, but by the 1930s it formed a governing agency to oversee the growth. After Barsumian died in 1963, his wife and son completed the development of the area. In 1966, the community incorporated as the Village of Tower Lakes.

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