onstruction on the Mill Pond Shops “shopping center” appears to have begun in 1968, though the first building (the one with the wheel) wasn’t completed until 1974. A secondary building was completed a few years after that. Originally owned, as was all of the downtown crossroads by the Ruth family, this “corner” of the crossroads eventually became it’s own unique farm, with the farm house and buildings located where 4103 Robert Parker Coffin is today. According to county records, some of the 1940’s era structures from that farm were the basis of the building currently standing at that address.
By this time (1974) Long Grove had adopted their “Long Grove Style” building code for the downtown area, so any construction, such as the Mill Pond Shops would need to resemble in spirit the late 1800’s buildings already in the downtown. Architect Sherman Gerber was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune when the first shop was ready to open:
Perhaps the most obvious feature of the complex is the water wheel completed in November of 1974. Constructed by Highland Park residents Sherman Gerber and Bob Johnson, the design was inspired by visiting a number of historic wheels in the Long Grove area.