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center – used for dances, town meetings and even church services. In fact, the community’s first election took place there in 1895, when the village incorporated and George Thomson was elected mayor. It was moved to the southwest corner of Lake and Harvey streets in 1911. Over time, the Read building has changed significantly. Originally, it had paired brackets under the eaves, a suggested pediment and an ornate front porch. Today, the building is unassuming, but it played an important role in Grayslake’s history. Finally, there is the home of Dr. John Palmer, built in 1904 at 18 S. Lake St. It is Grayslake’s only example of Classical Revival architecture and it is also featured in the exhibit. The enclosed porch was once a porte-cochere for carriages. The carriage house to the rear was where “Doc” Hildebrandt, the local pharmacist, bottled Coca-Cola. The Palmer House has many elements typical of the Classical Revival style including an Ionic temple portico with dentil detailing on the pediment. Also displayed in the exhibit are hand tools of the day, which would have been used during the construction process, letters removed from the exterior of the former Lakeview School and architectural elements from Grayslake buildings including a bracket from the Last Chance Saloon. Children visiting the exhibit will have the opportunity to draw pictures of their own houses and affix them to a large map of the community and to construct some buildings using Lego blocks, said Linda Willhite, museum volunteer. In addition, there are supporting programs. Renehan presented a program on the moving of buildings in Grayslake. An architectural
scavenger hunt will be distributed at the annual Grayslake Arts Festival with the deadline for submitting it several weeks afterward. Meanwhile, the main level of the Heritage Center features an exhibit on Grayslake transportation through the years, specifically local roads, car dealerships and service garages. It features information on historic roads through the area, including Route 120 which was once known as Old Plank Road. The histories of old service garages like Cheeseman and Behning, as well as those run by the three sons of William Brandstetter (Irving, George and Fay), are pictured and detailed. “The father owned a saloon but the sons ventured into cars. In fact, they opened competing gas stations – one of which was called Brandy’s Korner,” Renehan said. Grayslake’s former car dealerships – Rockenbach Chevrolet and Mount and White Ford – are also included, as is a hands-on exhibit where children can pretend to service an automobile. A photo wall, featuring reminiscences from current Grayslake residents of all ages about their first cars, has also been produced. Those interviewed range from teenagers to 90-year-olds because everyone remembers their first car. Supporting programs for this exhibit will include a modified road rally for the public and, on Aug. 28, a model car show. In addition, local resident John Smiskol will present a program reminiscing about his years as an overland racing driver. For more information about the exhibits and the Grayslake Heritage Center, visit www.villageofgrayslake.com and look for the Grayslake Heritage Center and History Museum button or call (847) 543-1745. Historical information is available from the Grayslake Historical Society at www.grayslakehistory.org or by calling (847) 223-7663.
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