If you were making your way down Lake Forest’s Rosemary Road circa 1916, you might have encountered a gigantic house rolling down the middle of the street. Albert Volney Foster, vice president at North Shore Gas, and his wife, Margaret Baxter Foster, who opened the celebrated Lake Forest Shop, purchased a Colonial Revival–style mansion at Sheridan and Rosemary Roads around that time and decided to move it three-tenths of a mile to 400 Washington Road.
The Fosters nabbed the 1890s home from its original owners, banker and broker Granger Farwell and his wife, Sarah Goodrich Farwell. A renowned architect definitely designed it — it’s just unclear which one: either Illinois state architect William Carbys Zimmerman or Henry Ives Cobb, whose résumé includes the Newberry Library. It’s also possible both contributed. “The architect situation is murky,” says Laurie Stein, curator of the History Center of Lake Forest–Lake Bluff. “If both worked on it, Cobb would likely have been first and Zimmerman second, since Cobb moved away from the area in 1897.” We do know the house needed major work following a 1924 fire that wrecked the roof and third floor and caused water damage throughout.
Now the handsome seven-bedroom, 8,991-square-foot brick house is listed with Patrick Milhaupt of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty for $2.23 million. “They don’t make houses like this anymore,” says owner Kurt Kohlmeyer, Barclays Investment Bank’s head of Midwest investment banking, who moved in with his family in 2002. “It’s got great bones. And it’s got great memories.”
Past the elaborate front entrance — a Dutch door accented by sidelights, a fanlight, Corinthian pilasters, and a broken-arch pediment — you can look straight down the 43-foot-long grand foyer to the also elaborately surrounded, also Dutch back door. On the north side, a 782-square-foot living room steps up into a library and onto the screened-in porch, which at 705 square feet is an ideal postpandemic party spot.