About This Place
Lake Bluff is a village in Lake County, Illinois. It is the closest moderate-sized town near the Great Lakes Navy Base and is North of Lake Forest. The population is 6,056 according to the 2000 census. The town has a police department and volunteer fire department.
In 1836, John and Catherine Cloes were the first to claim land, 100 acres (0.40 km2) in the area that would become Lake Bluff. In 1855, the first railroad in Lake County was completed between Chicago and Waukegan. When the railroad depot was built in Lake Bluff, the land became known as Rockland; although the village is no longer known by that name, there is still a Rockland Road in the unincorporated section of Lake Bluff, Knollwood. The area had previously been known as the Dwyer Settlement, and Oak Hill. The Lake Bluff Camp Meeting Association was formed and the little settlement of Rockland was renamed "Lake Bluff." The Association planned a resort similar to the Chautauqua movement in the East, that would provide not only religious activities but also social, cultural, educational, and recreational programs. In 1895, Lake Bluff ensured its future as a suburb and incorporated as a Village. Charles Trusdell, the first Village President, built his home at 115 East Center Avenue. The East School opened in September 1895. In 1904, the brick railroad station was erected, and in 1905 the present Village Hall was built.
Lake Bluff also played a major role in alcohol smuggling during Prohibition. Chicago crime boss Al Capone brought shipments of alcohol from Canada, down Lake Michigan, to the shores of Lake Bluff to saturate the streets of Chicago.