• U.S.

National Affairs: Millionairea

2 minute read

Lake Forest, Ill., is the Newport, the Pass Christian, the Sewickley, the Pasadena, the Chevy Chase, the Brookline. the Glen Cove, the Haverford, of the Midwest. The socially-eligible, serious-minded Mayor of Lake Forest is Albert B. Dick Jr., whose father makes mimeograph machines and whose alarming younger brother writes poetry. Lately, Mayor Dick had a problem to solve.

One of his socially-equal fellow townsmen, Van Wagenen Ailing, became hard up. Lake Forest taxes were so high that Mr. Ailing felt the need of subdividing his estate for homesites. Mr. Alling’s across-the-road neighbor, one Benjamin Franklin Affleck, heard of this and telegraphed: “Such concentration of housing and population is entirely contrary to the general scheme of things in that part of Lake Forest. . . . We left Winnetka [modest Chicago suburb regarded by some as a stepping-stone to Lake Forest, by others as a model community] because of numerous small houses built in our neighborhood. . . .”

Realtor Ailing replied: “I cannot understand why some of my neighbors object to more millionaires per acre. None of my houses will have less than four bathrooms. . . . Hugh Garden rents from me now and so do Thomas W. Cloney, vice president of the Quaker Oats Company, John H. Hamline and William A. Jaicks. Joseph T. Bowen lived in my house for nine years and then bought it.”

Mayor Dick of Lake Forest tactfully turned the discussion into one of regional planning and asked Realtor Ailing to submit plans of his new subdivision, his “millionairea” as the Chicago Tribune called it.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com