Gorton Community Center


Gorton Community Center is one of only a few privately-funded community centers in the United States and serves as a unique partnership between community volunteers and the City of Lake Forest. Adults and children find quality programs here, from classes, dance, film, performing arts, and day care. The newly renovated John & Nancy Hughes Theater is a state-of-the-art performing arts venue that has become the signature of Gorton Community Center. A new entrance leads visitors into a stunning 309-seat theater with new technology systems, including sound, lights, and projection. The theater offers children, teen, and adults the unforgettable experience of performing on a world-class stage or attending their favorite events. Since 1972, Gorton has been proud to enrich the lives of residents through cultural arts, education and charitable service.

Gorton Community Center, a private nonprofit 501c3 organization, relies on the generosity of area residents and business to support building improvements, programs and services which are offered in the historic building owned by the City of Lake Forest.

Mission & History

Before Gorton came to symbolize “the community’s house,” we had a rich history with deep roots in the community. As a local landmark, Gorton dates to 1901, when it opened as the Central School, Lake Forest’s first consolidated K-12 school. The Gorton building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. This listing is the Nation’s highest honor accorded places of historic and architectural distinction.