In 1937, Malcolm Boyle (1897-1959), a wealthy Chicago contractor, purchased several farms near Wauconda totaling 1,250 acres to create Lakewood Farm.
|The rolling topography of Lakewood Forest Preserve (formerly Lakewood Farm).|
This view is of the Stockholm addition to Lakewood Forest Preserve, 1989.
Many gentlemen farmers were executives or owners of Chicago businesses, or the children of prominent Chicago families. Their farms transformed the landscape of Lake County from homesteads with traditional white clapboard farmhouses to estate houses with elaborate gardens designed by famous architects. Among these farms were Arthur Meeker’s Arcaday Farm, Grace Durand’s Crab Tree Farm, Robert Leatherbee’s Brae Burn Farm, and Malcolm Boyle's Lakewood Farm.
In 1939, Malcolm Boyle registered the name, Lakewood Farm, for his working farm with the Lake County Recorder of Deeds. It became a showplace with Guernsey cows, pigs, horses, extensive orchards, gardens and grain production.
Wauconda's Independent Register wrote in 1938: "[Boyle] has remodeled the buildings and is making extensive improvements on the property, including an artificial lake."
Boyle renovated a pre-Civil War house on site
into a country home. Since 1986, this building has been
used for the museum's archives and library.
|This barn was built in the 1920s and renovated by Boyle circa 1938. |
This image is from a Lakewood Farms booklet printed, circa 1965,
printed by Howard Quinn, the property's next owner.
In 1953, Boyle’s Guernsey “Hagan Farms Merry Song” won a prize at the International Dairy show. The cow had notably produced 15,000 pounds of milk the previous year.
|Silver tray trophy "Champion Northern Illinois Jr. Parish Show|
Curtiss Improved Stud Service 1956."
For Lakewood Farm, Wauconda. LCDM 2009.21.2
The Lakewood Farm property was one of the first sites designated by the Lake County Forest Preserves' for acquisition. In 1968, the land was acquired, and the farm buildings used to store equipment.
|Prize bull barn as seen circa 1965. |
This structure would be adapted as the museum's lobby and gift store.
Today, Lakewood Forest Preserve totals more than 2,600 acres, making it the largest preserve in Lake County. During the next couple of years the Lake County Forest Preserve’s planning department will develop a master plan for Lakewood, which will consider how the complex of buildings at Lakewood will be used. This master plan will be approved by the Forest Preserves Board of Commissioners.