“L” is for Lloyd

Gazette Article by: Jan Tubergen
Appeared in the Gazette: Spring 1998

Several years ago when the Minnesota Historical Society reopened its exhibit area, a unique approach was taken to interpret its history from “A to Z.” Various objects and topics were depicted by “letters,” and visitors moved through the gallery “alphabetically.” The editorial board of the Winnetka Historical Society Gazette has decided to adopt a similar technique and has added a new feature, “WINNETKA HISTORY: A to Z.”

The Henry Demarest Lloyd house at 830 Sheridan Road was the first building in Winnetka to be designated an historic landmark when it was added to the National Register in 1966.

However, it is not the architecture that makes Lloyd House notable, but the historical importance of its namesake occupant. Henry Demarest Lloyd was a well-known writer and reform advocate of the late 19th century whose theories of democratic self-governance and social welfare left a lasting mark on Winnetka’s village structure and civic life.

Lloyd began his career in his native New York as one of the first “muckraking” journalists who brought down Boss Tweed in the Tammany Hall scandals. When he and his wife, Jessie Bross Lloyd, came to Winnetka in 1878, they moved into a home known as Keflawn, which overlooked the lakefront.

In a china closet converted to a study at Keflawn, Lloyd wrote many of his notable articles for the Chicago Tribune, as well as magazine articles that received national acclaim, such as his 1881 exposé on the unfair business practices of Standard Oil Company. He became a champion of the exploited when he advocated that the Governor of Illinois commute the death sentence for the Haymarket rioters.

In 1884 Keflawn was moved several hundred feet west and joined to the John Garland home, which had years before been moved from the east to the west side of Sheridan Road. (The Garland house was built in 1855 when Garland owned the adjacent Patterson tavern established in 1836.) Lloyd’s newly merged structure was faced with red brick (now painted white) and was called Wayside, after the old Patterson tavern, the Wayside Inn.

Lloyd wrote seven books, the best known of which is Wealth Against Commonwealth (1894), in his spacious new third floor study at Wayside. Famous visitors and lecturers who gave “parlour talks” made Wayside a cultural center in Winnetka.
Lloyd took great interest in Winnetka and with other civic fathers developed the Village Improvement Association, the Winnetka Town Meeting, and the Fourth of July celebration. He also was instrumental in the formation of the municipally owned water and electric plants.

Lloyd participated in village affairs, serving as vice president of the Winnetka Village Council, village treasurer, and president of the Winnetka Town Meeting. He ran unsuccessfully for the U. S. Congress in 1888 and 1894 as a Union Labor Party candidate.
In 1896 Lloyd began to campaign for grade separation of the railroad tracks in Winnetka to promote public safety. This vision would not be fully realized until 1943, 40 years after Lloyd’s death in 1903.

Wayside is now known as Lloyd House in tribute to a man whose character is an indelible part of the village in which he lived.

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