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G R AY S L A K E H I S T O R Y

Heritage Center exhibits highlight architecture, cars

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he Grayslake Heritage Center, 164 Hawley St., is becoming well known for assembling and displaying a wide variety of fascinating exhibits on aspects of Grayslake history, ranging from local baseball players over the years, to Grayslake’s part in the Civil War, to the community’s growth through the eyes of a resident. This summer yet another pair of exhibits will be added to the list, to the delight of local residents who are enjoying them and their supporting programs, said David Oberg, executive director of the Grayslake Heritage Center. The second floor of the Heritage Center currently features Constructing a Community, an exhibit that highlights Grayslake’s historic architecture. Eighteen structures (homes, businesses and public buildings) of varying architectural styles are presented through historic photos, current photos and detail shots. “Constructing a Community provides a tangible link between past and present and recalls important structures, some now vanished and some still with us. Many are fine examples of distinct architectural styles, while others, though common, tell important stories,” Oberg said. They include the Grayslake Hotel, the Merchants and Farmers Bank, the Carmi Read Building and the Classical Revival home of Dr. John Palmer. “John Walton and Orlando Richardson built the Grayslake Hotel in 1889. The hotel’s dining room served as one of the community’s

earliest dining spots,” said Charlotte Renehan, museum archivist and president of the Grayslake Historical Society. “The building later served as a drug store and grocery store. Though it has been dramatically altered, some of the original Italianate architectural details survive, as well as some of the ornamental pressed tin ceilings in the interior.” When it was first built, the Grayslake Hotel was a textbook example of Commercial Italianate architecture. The hipped roof, with decorative paired brackets drew the eye up to a “widow’s walk,” a platform on the roof with an iron grille or rail. The hipped roof and brackets have survived modernization, but the porch and widow’s walk are gone today. The Merchants and Farmers Bank, built in 1900 at 201 Center St., was the first bank building in Grayslake. It was also home to the Grayslake post office for a time. In later years, a series of restaurants operated there. The building has been replaced by the Centennial Plaza. The bank was built in the Queen Anne style with a hint of Chateau influence. Both styles were popular in the 19th century and remained popular for commercial applications well into the early 20th century. A rather ornate structure, it featured fancy brackets, a suggested cross gable with low relief sculpture and contrasting texture. Carmi Read began work on his agricultural implement and hardware building in 1890. The upper floor served as a community

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