One sure symbol of spring in Lake Forest is when the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation posts its signs in the yards of past award recipients. Each year, the Foundation honors individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in the preservation of Lake Forest’s architectural heritage.
This year, one of the awards was given to John (Jack) and Peggy Crowe for the construction of a garden folly on their Lake Forest estate. For more than 30 years, Jack had been interested in the 1793 summerhouse folly designed by Samuel McIntire for Captain Elias Hasket Derby, located in Danvers, Massachusetts. It wasn’t until the Crowes visited Newport, Rhode Island, five years ago and saw a replica of the Derby folly in the garden of Derby’s great-great-granddaughter, Martha Codman, that they knew they wanted to build their own folly overlooking their garden pool in Lake Forest. The Crowes’ garden folly, being used as a pool house, is the second of only two replicas of McIntire’s original work. The folly was completed in 2011.
A folly, or gazebo, is a tradition that dates back to the gardens of ancient Rome. In New England, where the summers are typically short, follies hold great appeal as they offer a pleasant, covered location to appreciate a garden or a particular view. An added bonus is that these structures are often beautiful additions to the landscape.
The Crowes commissioned the Chicago architectural firm of Liederbach and Graham to research and design the structure. Jack and Peggy were thrilled with the team that built their folly, giving special accolades to Krumpen Woodworks Inc. for all the millwork and design elements. The Crowes’ garden folly was built entirely to scale to replicate the original McIntire piece.
In the Derby folly, McIntire created exquisitely carved draped urns along the roof line, with figures of a harvest reaper and milkmaid on each of the four roof corners. In the Crowes’ folly, the woodcarvers built urns strictly adhering to the Palladian proportions used by McIntire, with drapery and capitals hand-carved from mahogany just as they had been in 1793. Glass for the structure was made in France for this project, using 1793 methods.
“It’s a beautiful re-creation of a classic garden pavilion, worthy of comparison with the best on its scale in England or France,” says Arthur Miller, Forest & Bluff contributor, local historian, and a Director of the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation. “This folly is a terrific addition to the community and shows the relevance today of classic design.”
If you would like to see the folly up close, the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation will be hosting a wine stroll on Friday, August 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Award nominations are now being accepted for 2013. The Lake Forest Preservation Foundation presents awards in five categories:
• Preservation—maintaining the historical integrity and character of a structure or landscape through conservation, maintenance, and repair.
• Rehabilitation—continuing the use of a historic structure through repair, alterations, and additions while protecting its historical, cultural, and architectural character (includes adaptive re-use).
• Restoration—recovering, revealing, or representing the state of a historic structure or landscape as it appeared at a particular time in history.
• Reconstruction—recreating the form, features, and details of a historic structure or landscape through new construction.
• New Construction or Infill—building new construction that demonstrates exemplary contextual compatibility in an established neighborhood.
Nomination forms can be found on the Foundation’s website at lfpf.org or requested from their office at 847-234-1230.
To learn more about the wine stroll or the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation, visit lfpf.org
—Ann Marie Scheidler