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Dates of existence
The Highland Park Building Company, led by resident manager Frank P Hawkins (also the first mayor of Highland Park), was created on May 29, 1867 when a group of business men purchased land from Walter S Gurnee with intent of creating a fashionable community "of means and taste*." Other members of the Company included Cornelius R Field (sales), William French (engineer), Horace Cleveland (landscape architect), and the Reverend William Wallace Events. The Company chartered special trains from Chicago to the North Shore to hold grand sales events on lots and present plans for Gothic and Italianate Victorian homes. The Company purchased the Highland Park Hotel and renamed it the Central Hotel in 1867 also.
The Highland Park Building Company took an active role in community planning and development to attract home owners. They built the (former) Highland Park train depot. The Company financed the first public school in Highland Park, the Port Clinton Avenue School, and established Highland Hall, a girls finishing school. Additionally, the Company provided funds for Baptist and Methodist Churches.
- Pioneer to Commuter : the Story of Highland Park/ by Marvyn Wittelle 1958, p. 41.