Click to watch the video: http://youtu.be/FbYGfUMk1Ao
Long before the existence of Lake Bluff, an early pioneer who hailed from Rockland County, New York came to Illinois and named a small town Rockland, located on a crossroads of Rockland Road and Green Bay Road. There was a post office, an Inn, a one-room schoolhouse, some log houses, a few farms, a train depot and a brand-new church.
This “little brown church,” known as Rockland Union Church, originated in 1866, one year after the end of the Civil War. As part of an early ecumenical movement, these churches were found in small towns across America, appealing to people from a variety of religious traditions as a chance to worship as a community. Visiting ministers from the recently-founded Lake Forest College conducted services at the church on Sunday afternoons.
In 1875, the Methodist Camp Meeting Ground was organized near the bluffs of Lake Michigan. By then, the community of Rockland had been assimilated into Lake Bluff. In 1902, after 36 years in existence, the Rockland Union Church building was condemned and torn down to make way for expansion of the North Shore Electric Railway between Rondout and Libertyville.
Since the original Union Church building no longer existed, the church congregation met in members’ homes until 1906. Meetings were then moved to the Lake Bluff Country Club, at that time located at Center Avenue and Moffett Road. By 1912, members of the Ladies Guild had collected enough money to purchase land formerly owned by the Lake Bluff Camp Meeting Association for the princely sum of $2,500. But World War I put the congregation’s plans on hold.
In 1920, the church was formally organized and chartered as the Union Church of Lake Bluff. The new pastor, Nelson Hall, obtained a building from the Great Lakes Naval Base and had it moved and erected on the site where the church stands today.
In 1964, the Board of Trustees of the Union Church of Lake Bluff voted to raze the old building and construct a new church. In 1965, the current building was completed. Thanks to the efforts of many members from Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and surrounding communities, the church still stands, mortgage and debt-free.