Deerpath Farm Nature Preserve
At the 152-acre Deerpath Farm Nature Preserve, you’ll find several of Lake Forest Open Lands’ finest wetlands – and many of our finest views, too. Its trails traverse impressive terrain, including prairie, savanna, woodlands and working lands and is a true Lake County gem that allows visitors to experience past and present simultaneously. For many years this land was a working dairy farm and country retreat for the family of Edward Bennett, who co-authored the 1909 Plan of Chicago with Daniel Burnham. The Bennett family’s long-standing appreciation for Deerpath Farm’s natural beauty and its heritage for civic planning inspired this spectacular conservation community.
Deerpath Farm’s interesting history illustrates how thoughtful development can help a native landscape to prosper. Created over 12,000 years ago by glaciers, it originally flourished as a mix of pristine ecosystems tended by Native Americans. The environment changed in the 1840s when homesteaders cleared the land for agriculture. They logged the timber and added fences for livestock grazing. During the drainage mania of the early 1900s, drain tiles and the newly straightened creek began speeding water offsite.
In the 1920s, Lake Forest resident Edward Bennett purchased the property. An architect and city planner, Bennett co-authored the 1909 Plan of Chicago with Daniel Burnham. In 1932, he gave Deerpath Farm to his son, Edward “Ted” Bennett Jr., also a Lake Forest resident and distinguished architect.
By the mid-1950s, Deerpath Farm lay in the main line of sprawl between Lake Forest and Vernon Hills. Ted envisioned Deerpath Farm as a conservation development and created initial designs with his architect stepson, Frederick “Rick” Phillips. After Ted’s death, Rick (with his wife Linda, and brother David), continued this dream by working with Lake Forest Open Lands. The outcome? Today’s 152-acre nature preserve, overlooked by 40 homesites.
Deerpath Farm’s distinctive architecture emerges from careful guidelines that protect nature, and our enjoyment of it. Even more impressive is the beauty of the preserved prairie, savanna, wetlands and woodlands – and the ample wildlife and birds they attract. This is one of the finest conservation projects that Lake Forest Open Lands has been involved with.
Deerpath Farm is located on Route 60, just over the tollway and directly across from W. W. Grainger. Turn onto Bennett Road, park by the trails on the interior road (Farwell Drive). Click here for detailed Google map directions.