One of the first planned shopping centers in the United States connected to rail, not the automobile, Market Square created a new downtown to Lake Forest, Illinois in 1916. Interestingly, Market Square’s format matches that of the new urban centers and “lifestyle centers” being created today. Shops and restaurants sit adjacent to public transit and surround a small park that is itself a community destination. Architectural variety and an intimate streetscape made an appealing environment. Office space and housing occupy upper floors and create round-the-clock activity.
Lake Forest’s Market Square foreshadowed today’s “new” development strategies in another way. The masterplanned project came in a single stroke as an early phase of the “Lake Forest Improvement Plan” conceived by Arthur Aldis, a real estate promoter, who had an interest not only in the Square but also in leveraging development – and redevelopment — on surrounding properties.