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Friday, December 3, 2010

Maynard Log Cabin, Waukegan

In 1844, Jesse H. Maynard (1809-1890) arrived in Waukegan from New Hampshire with his wife, Augusta Marshall (1813-1884), and their children. Maynard family ancestors originally came to Massachusetts from England in 1630. 

Jesse Maynard (1809-1890). Bess Bower Dunn Museum, 94.34.291.

Maynard built a log cabin for his family and farmed land along Grand Avenue east of Green Bay Road in Waukegan. Green Bay Road was a main thoroughfare for travelers and new settlers. Maynard's wife, Augusta, taught the first school at Spaulding's Corner located at the intersection of Grand and Green Bay Roads. The location was named for the David Spaulding family who had settled there in 1836. 

Augusta Marshall Maynard (1813-1884). Wife of Jesse H. Maynard and first teacher at Spaulding's Corner School. 
Bess Bower Dunn Museum, 94.34.273.

In 1856, Jesse Maynard started a brickyard on his property at 3015 Grand Avenue. In 1864, he noted  that Dr. Vincent Price (1832-1914) of Waukegan ordered 1,000 soft bricks. Dr. Price had moved from  New York State to Waukegan in 1860 where he invented and promoted the use of baking powder, and became a wealthy businessman. 

Maynard Brickyard on Grand Avenue in Waukegan. Bess Bower Dunn Museum. 

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 Family home, circa 1885. The original log cabin (two-story section above) was covered with clapboard siding and additions made as the family grew more prosperous. Left to right: housekeeper Tilda Sweet (behind shrub), Jesse Maynard seated; and standing at right is daughter, Augusta Phillips (1839-1889). Bess Bower Dunn Museum, 94.34.490

The Maynard family discontinued living in this house in the early 1900s, and rented it to tenants. In 1962, Jesse Maynard's great-grandson, Edward N. Maynard, inherited the 12.5 acre-property and house, and sold it to the North Shore Gas Company. 

The family had retained the knowledge that the clapboard covered house concealed the log cabin their ancestor had built of hand-hewn logs in 1844. In order to save the original log cabin, North Shore Gas donated it to the Lake County History Museum (Wadsworth, Illinois). 

Russell Rouse (left) and Oscar F. Rogers, vice-president of North Shore Gas company. 
The men are examining the hand-forged nails used by Jesse Maynard to build the house in 1844.

In 1964, the central two-story portion of the historic Maynard home was moved to the Lake County Highway Department yard on Winchester Road in Libertyville. That location was chosen since the Lake County History Museum was hoping to build a new museum in Libertyville near the Winchester House (Lake County nursing home).
The Maynard log house moving to its temporary home in Libertyville, 1964.
Bess Bower Dunn Museum 94.34.491.

Maynard log house at Lake County Highway Department, Libertyville, 1972. 
Bess Bower Dunn Museum, 94.34.526.

Despite the best of intentions, the Maynard log cabin lingered outside and 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 in 1977. The goal was to re-assemble the cabin, but by then the damage was done. Much of the timbers had been eaten away by powder-post beetles. 

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

- D. Dretske, Curator

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