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Friday, December 3, 2010

Maynard Log Cabin

Jesse H. Maynard

In 1844, Jesse H. Maynard (1809-1890) moved from New Hampshire to Waukegan with his wife, Augusta Marshall (1813-1884) and their children. The Maynards' ancestors were from England, settling in Massachusetts in 1630. 

Jesse Maynard built a log cabin for his family and farmed the land along Grand Avenue, just east of Greenbay Road in Waukegan. Augusta Maynard taught the first school at Spaulding's Corner (intersection of Grand and Greenbay Roads), named for the David Spaulding family who settled there in 1836. 

In 1856, Jesse started a brickyard on his property at 3015 Grand Avenue. He noted in his diary in1864 that Dr. Price of Waukegan ordered 1,000 soft bricks. 

Maynard Brickyard, Waukegan
Locally made brick was in great demand. Using the surface clay on site, Maynard made bricks which were first sun-dried, then stacked and covered for curing, and later baked in kilns located under a roof. A windmill on site provided power to pump water for the manufacturing process. 

In the 1880s, the family covered their log cabin with siding, added rooms and plastered the interior walls (below). 

Maynard home, circa 1885. The center, two-story
structure was the original log cabin built by Jesse Maynard
 in 1844. In this photograph, Jessee is seated near the front door.
Standing behind a bush (at left) is the housekeeper,
Tilda Sweet, and front center is Jesse and Augusta's daughter,
Augusta Phillips (1839-1889). 
About 1962, the North Shore Gas Company purchased the house along with 12.5 acres from Jesse Maynard's great-grandson, Edward N. Maynard. North Shore Gas in turn donated the house to the Lake County Museum (then located in Wadsworth), in order to save the log cabin. 

In 1964, the central two-story portion of the historic Maynard home was moved to the Lake County Highway Department yard in Libertyville. That location was chosen, since the Lake County Museum was hoping to build a new museum either in Libertyville near the Winchester House or in Wauconda at Lakewood Forest Preserve. 

Russell Rouse (left) and Oscar F. Rogers, vice-president of North Shore Gas company, examined the hand-forged nails used by Jesse Maynard.

Maynard cabin on its trip to Libertyville, 1964.

Despite the best of intentions, the Maynard log cabin lingered outside exposed to the elements until the mid-1970s, while plans were developed for a new museum site. The cabin was carefully dismantled, each section numbered, and transported to Lakewood Forest Preserve about 1975. By then, the damage had been done, and much of the timbers had been eaten away by beetles. 

Sadly, all that remains of this worthy preservation project are the photographs taken to document the work of the many volunteers, including the Carpenters & Joiners of America Local No. 1996, and George Palaske House Raising and Moving Company, as they uncovered and moved the cabin from its original site.

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