Live Small Among the Millionaires in Chicago's Lake Forest Suburb

Want to live like a millionaire? Buy this simple house in Lake Forest, Ill. -- a one-bedroom, one-bath cottage for $350,000 listed by Coldwell Banker. It's just a few blocks from a similar one-bedroom, three-room cottage owned by Grace Groner, 100, who died in January and left $7 million to her alma mater, Lake Forest College. Yes, you read that right. A multi-millionaire lived in a similarly simple home in the high-end Lake Forest neighborhood outside Chicago.

Groner, a former secretary for nearby pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories, made her millions from just three shares of Abbott stock she bought in 1935 for $60 each, according to the Chicago Tribune.

You might wonder where Groner lived in Lake Forest. That swanky neighborhood doesn't grow too many small homes like this one. Instead, the architecturally significant Chicago suburb 30 miles north of the Loop with an average household income is more than $200,000, has properties for sale more like this eight-bedroom, 13-bath mansion (left) on the lake currently listed at $15 million.

Groner's cottage is at 144 Washington Road, walking distance to the Lake Forest Country Day School, golfing at the private Onwentsia Club, and a short walk to her beloved Lake Forest College. Groner's home was donated to the college and officials say they intend to use it for recipients of her scholarship.

While there is a two-bedroom home built in 1908 at 163 Washington Road going for $250,000 (with $6,300 in annual property taxes) this is not an inexpensive neighborhood. On the same street, a five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home with 3,062 square feet at 138 Washington Road is listed at $924,900. This is the east side of Lake Forest, closer to Lake Michigan and the location of some of the most expensive homes. There are homes in Lake Forest designed by architects such as David Adler and Howard Van Doren Shaw, and landscaped by Jens Jensen and Frederick Law Olmstead.

Lake Forest residents enjoy a 29-acre beachfront park with sailboat marina and sculpted swimming coves, covered picnic area, and outdoor showers for washing off sand.

In summer, Lake Forest polo matches take place on park district property near Green Bay Road. Matches have been played in the suburb since the 1930s.

Openlands, a ecosystem preservation project started in the 1960s by local residents, has preserved more than 700 acres in the city limits with paths for walking and biking. The 25-mile Robert McClory Bike Path runs through town, connecting Lake Forest with suburbs along the lake from Lake Bluff south to Evanston. And Lake Forest's downtown offers a mix of boutiques, bistros, grocery stores, and banks.

See more homes for sale in Chicago's Lake Forest suburb at AOL Real Estate.
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