Dickinson Seminary for Young Ladies building, 1859, Mitchell Hall, Lake Forest College (1881-1899) and subsequent, in two mid 20th C. news clippings


Dickinson Seminary for Young Ladies building, 1859, Mitchell Hall, Lake Forest College (1881-1899) and subsequent, in two mid 20th C. news clippings


Dickinson Seminary for Young Ladies


Two clippings show one 1859 structure built as the Dickinson Seminary for Young Ladies (1859-1867), then renovated as Mitchell Hall (1881-1899), then moved to the southwest corner of Sheridan and Rosemary Rd. for the South School (public), and by ca. 1912 moved to Mayflower Rd. south of Maplewood Rd. for French family residence. Burned 1960s, and replaced by architect Balfour Lanza with a mid-century modern house for the Davies family. Original location of Dickinson Seminary: south side of College Rd. between Washington and Sheridan Rds.

The article states that the photo of the Dickinson Seminary came from Mrs. Robert McGann, the former Miss Grace Farwell and previously Mrs. Dudley Winston. The sylvan location on the south side of College from Washington to Sheridan Rd. had two early 1900s houses by Frost & Granger built on the western two thirds or lots.  The eastern one by 1872 was the lcoation of "The Lilacs," the frame home of Simon Somerville Reid and Martha McWilliams Reid, his spouse and later widow. This Stick Style residence was deeded to the College ca. 1960s and then demolished in 1971.  This eastern lot now is open lawn, the surviving or restored remnant of "Dickinson Park," as referred to in the article.  

The first photo is reproduced in the 2004 reprinting only of Lake Forest: Estates, People and Culture by Arthur H. Miller and Shirley M. Paddock (Arcadia, 2000).  Another view with the Rev. Baxter Dickinson in front appears in other printings of this book.  Dickinson was the proprietor and ran the school with and probably for his four spinster daughters, the teachers.  It only operated for eight years, but is credited with educating four hundred students; with only as many as twenty living in at a time, it implies that many lived elsewhere--at the Quinlan, Rossiter, Benedict, Canfield, and other smaller nearby by then built homes.

Mitchell Hall was establsihed with the leadership of Mrs. Charles B. (Mary Smith) Farwell, who led in re-launching the College as a co-educational program in 1876 and a former seminary teacher and friend of astronomer (Vassar College) Maria Mitchell. It was replaced in 1899 by Lois (Durand) Hall, and the land as sold to Calvin Durand to build two houses for two of his children, Mrs. Trowbridge and Henry Calvin Durand, Frost & Granger, architects.  A few years later he built two houses on meadow land south of his house on Mayflower Rd. for two other children, Mrs. Arthur Yaggy and Mrs. William Mather Lewis. 

The date fo the first image is form the 1859-1867 period, and there are other photos from 1866, such as one of the Holts across the street to the north.  This cold have been the smae occasion.  The second photo is harder to date, perhaps.  In the 1896 Forester yearbook, p. [84] a view of the 1895 women's basketball team (an historic early one) is shown on the Mitchell Hall steps, with a central entry, hough by this time with a small vestibule added to the porch and with windows on both sides.  This vestibule suggests that entry was into a large main room.  Paerhaps this was reconfigured for a classroom on the left and the entry on the right for the south School, ca. 1899-1913, as described in the clipping article.  So this photo may reflect the structure's state in 1913, as it appears to be jacked up again for perhaps its move to Mayflower Rd., a block east and just south.  So the dates of the photos appear to be 1866 and 1913.      

These clippings were made by the Public Information office, under Ellen Mosey until the early 1970s, were transferred when she died then to the Library, becoming a core basis for the Archives. 








Archives "Buildings" reference file--Lost Buildings--Mitchell Hall (1881-1899)


“Dickinson Seminary for Young Ladies building, 1859, Mitchell Hall, Lake Forest College (1881-1899) and subsequent, in two mid 20th C. news clippings,” Digital Collections - Lake Forest College, accessed August 10, 2022, http://collections.lakeforest.edu/items/show/5727.

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