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The Idea

In 1908, with the idea of building a private place for spending leisure time, several prominent Chicago-area families joined together to purchase land in the northeast corner of Glencoe, Illinois. They desired a quiet place away from the ever-expanding city where they could relax, socialize, and share in their enthusiasm for various outdoor sports.

Old Beck Farm

Lake Shore Country Club is situated approximately 20 miles north of Chicago on approximately 127 acres that formerly constituted Old Beck Farm. What is now Metra Braeside Station was known as Beck’s Crossing which made developing in the area attractive due to its accessibility by train from the city. In 1909, nationally renowned landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted and his two sons, were hired to help develop the property. The equally pre-eminent architect, Howard Van Doren Shaw, won the nation-wide architectural competition to design and build a clubhouse that overlooks Lake Michigan, 80 feet above lake level, with a beautiful expanse of lawn between the shore and the clubhouse. Both Olmsted and Shaw designed Lake Shore Country Club with the purpose of making all visitors conscious of their natural surroundings.

The Clubhouse

In 1910, the Clubhouse was completed, with approximately 125,000 square feet on two levels, Member areas included formal and informal dining, card rooms, a central grand living room with tall windows looking out onto an expansive outdoor terrace, vast lawn, and Lake Michigan. The south wing of the Clubhouse has multiple guest rooms for overnight stays by Members and guests. The north wing includes employee housing and a professional kitchen.

The Land

In the early years, the vast lawn east of the Clubhouse was used for a variety of social and athletic activities, including baseball, badminton, croquet, skeet shooting, ice skating, and sleigh rides. Later, with the addition of tennis courts and a swimming pool, tennis, swimming, and platform diving were added to the mix. The lawn has also served as the site for large Member gatherings, including fireworks on the Fourth of July, cookouts on the beach, and county fairs with homemade pies. Although the Club acquired land west of Sheridan Road, it was not initially, by itself, large enough to build an eighteen-hole golf course. Accordingly, the property to the south and west was leased (and later purchased) from the Brand Family, thereby enabling the development of the golf course.

The Swimming Pool Complex

During the early years of the Club's history, member swimming was limited to Lake Michigan. In 1936, a state-of-the-art swimming pool with diving boards was built on the east lawn. This was quite innovative and luxurious for the times. Beginning in 2019, the complex underwent a major renovation and re-opened in the summer of 2020. Today, Lake Shore's swimming pool complex includes a regulation-size pool, a children's splash zone, and a casual quick-service restaurant on the bluff.

The Racquets Program

Around 1920, the first tennis courts built at Lake Shore were located west of the Clubhouse to the north end of the building. The courts were later moved to the east side of the building near the lake. Today, Lake Shore’s racquets program includes a total of nine tennis courts: seven clay courts on the east side and two hard courts on the west side. In the early 1990s, a paddle tennis facility with four courts and a warming hut was added to the west side adjacent to the golf driving range. The tennis facility has its own locker room area and a full-service pro shop on the east side.

The 18-Hole Golf Course

Lake Shore’s 18-hole golf course is separated from the Clubhouse by Sheridan Road. An underground pedestrian tunnel running beneath Sheridan Road dates back to the Olmsteds’ and Shaw’s original plans. Today the course accommodates around 10,000 rounds of golf annually. The course is noted for its difficult and lengthy par 4’s and has a series of ravines that need to be negotiated on several holes. An experienced golf staff provides a full program of golf activities. The facility includes a driving range, putting greens, and a separate chipping practice area. The Golf Clubhouse, rebuilt after a terrible fire in the summer of 1994, has separate men’s and women’s locker rooms plus indoor and terrace dining. A new pro-shop and caddy/cart facility were built in 1999.

To This Day

Lake Shore Country Club, with many of its original family members and descendants, maintains the same spirit conceived by its founders over one hundred years ago – a home away from home that is truly family oriented.