Part IV – DAR Plaque Recognizing First Shopping Center Status
“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness.”
John Keats, English poet (1795 – 1821) Endymion (1818)
As you stand by the Market Square fountain and look west, walk to the left to find a bronze plaque nestled beneath a boxwood hedge. It reads:
In recognition of Market Square, established 1916, the first unified and artfully designed shopping center in this country, and in acknowledgement of its historic and cultural contribution to the community, this plaque is dedicated to Arthur T. Aldis and Howard Van Doren Shaw, who with foresight created this historic landmark.
North Shore Chapter, National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution
May 12, 1984″
In 1911 or 1912, Arthur T. Aldis, a businessman and real estate expert, along with his friend Howard Van Doren Shaw, an architect, formed a plan that was to become Market Square. Fundraising began to start the project. As payment for his design work on the project, Shaw agreed to accept shares from the Trust being formed.
John Griffith was engaged as the real estate agent who bought property for the scheme. Land was acquired in phases and a board was formed January 13, 1913. Trustees were named to the Lake Forest Improvement Trust. Board members were: Arthur T. Aldis, D. Mark Cummings, John V. Farwell, Jr., David B. Jones and Cyrus H. McCormick.
Some setbacks were encountered. More money was needed and it took an additional two years to raise $100,000 and plan a bond issue.
Ground was broken in September, 1915. As individual shops were completed, occupants moved in and opened for business. Many stores opened in 1916. The project was completed in approximately 1 1/2 years. Businesses located around the horseshoe have changed over time, but, Market Square continues as a venue where shoppers can buy quality goods in pleasant surroundings. This isn’t an average shopping center!