Friday, July 16, 2010
Lyons Woods Forest Preserve
In the last few years, the Lake County Forest Preserves has begun a program to place historical information at the entrances to preserves to provide visitors with a glimpse of the wonderful cultural history of the different sites.
It's been one of my projects to do in-depth research on these preserves, write the text, and select images to accompany the information. The completed history presents a fascinating tale of the site from pre-settlement through its many uses.
The most recent history panel installation was at Lyons Woods Forest Preserve on Sheridan Road in Waukegan. The preserve was named for the Isaac R. Lyon (right) family who came to Lake County from Massachusetts in 1843, and owned land within the preserve. The family established the I.R. Lyon General Store in Waukegan that continued for generations. (below)
The I.R. Lyon General Store is shown on the right in this stereoview after a particularly heavy snowfall the winter of 1871. (LCDM 94.14.61)
Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" airplanes were built in Waukegan during World War I. The biplane was one of North America's most famous war planes, and was used to train U.S. Army pilots. Each one made in Waukegan was test flown on a field on the north side of the preserve. "Jenny" on parade in Waukegan, Genesee Street, 1920.
The most significant landowner in this preserve's history was the Pavlik family. In 1940, George and Jenny Pavlik purchased 25 acres of open land and established an evergreen nursery. The mature evergreens in the preserve were planted by the Pavliks as 6” to 8” seedlings.
Wedding portrait of George and Jenny Pavlik (1923). Courtesy of Virginia Pavlik Bleck.
According to the family they "believed it was important to have a good work ethic, to respect the stewardship of land, and to create beauty on earth. They planted thousands of trees so that people could enjoy them forever."
In the 1950s, George supplied large pines from the nursery for the new Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The huge pines were balled and loaded onto semi-trucks for transport to the Academy. Photo of loading the trucks for the Air Force Academy. Courtesy of Steven Roy.
Be sure to visit Lyons Woods to learn more of the story of this site and to enjoy over 200 acres of open space.
Trailhead and history information panel at Lyons Woods (left).
Other preserves to visit with history panels are Van Patten Woods, Grant Woods, Greenbelt, Independence Grove, Wright Woods and Lakewood. And coming soon... Cuba Marsh! For directions please visit the Forest Preserves's website www.LCFPD.org.