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Newspaper Clippings for
July, 1978

from Landmarks Preservation Council News, Vol. 7 No. 5
407 S. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60605 July, 1978

Millburn Historic District Approved by Advisory Council

The Illinois Historic Site Advisory Council recommended Millburn Historic District for inclusion on the National Register. Pending approval by the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Secretary of Interior the district will be placed on the register.

Last June concerned citizens of this historic crossroads came to LPC for advice regarding methods and approaches of insuring preservation of their rural community. Bob Teska, LPC board member, has worked throughout the year with residents of Millburn exploring various possibilities of protection including ordinances, zoning, restrictive covenants, possible annexation to neighboring town and county designation as a historic district. To date, no final course of action has been decided upon, but the National Register nomination is the first step toward an effective preservation plan.

The history of the community goes back to 1837 when three Scottish brothers, Robert, George and Peter Strang left Ontario, Canada to seek work on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. In 1838 they claimed the land on which Millburn stands and returned to Canada. The next year the three brothers brought their parents, sisters, and another brother, Jake back to the new settlement which soon became known as Strang's Corners. In the next two years enough other Scotsmen had joined the settlement to affect the organization of a church in 1840.

The tiny unincorporated hamlet of Millburn, with a population of 65, is located at the intersection of Grass Lake Road, Route 45, and Millburn Road in Lake County. Unlike similar settlements of its time, Millburn did not grow into a larger town, nor to date, has it been engulfed by new development. It remains a wholly undeveloped crossroads, and as such is a true remnant of the 19th century.

Although the earliest dated buildings surviving in Millburn are from 1856 - (the John ("Jake") Strang House and the Robert Strang Store), the pattern of settlement - a rural agglomeration of farmers, craftsmen, and tradesmen, mostly of Scottish origin - was certainly determined by the 1840's. Millburn has had its own hat shop, pharmacy, general stores, wagon shop, blacksmith shop and creamery. Among other business developed were six saw and grist mills along a nearby creek. The Scottish word for creek is "burn", hence the name Millburn.

While the nature of Millburn as a living remnant of the earliest type of settlement within northeastern Illinois, maybe its single point of greatest significance, the architectural importance of some individual buildings cannot be overlooked. According to Robert Wagner, consultant to the Illinois Department of Conservation, author of the Millburn Historic District Nomination, at least ten of the eighteen structures in the district are of architectural interest within the context of a rural settlement and four of the ten, according to Wagner would most probably be considered of high significance in almost any setting. These four are: The John ("Jake") Strang house 18750 Millburn Road, the Robert Strang store and John M Strang residence at the northwest corner of Grass Lake Road and Route 45, the Robert Strang home on the north side of Grass Lake Road, and the Pantall-Martin store on the east side of Route 45.

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