Newspaper Clippings for
from the Lake Villa - Lindenhurst Review 8 June 2000
Millburn residents want Route 45 rerouted
Residents of Historic Millburn would like to preserve their
quaint, horse-and-buggy pace of life, but the
unincorporated village needs help stemming traffic on its
main street in order to do so.
Ironically, Route 45, paved in 1926, is the major
thoroughfare that village preservationists wish had stayed
small town and rural.
About five years ago stop lights replaced stop signs on
Route 45 at Millburn Road and its continuation west, Grass
Lake Road. The lights helped slow the growing traffic
flowing in all directions through the tiny community.
The Millburn Historic Community Association, in its passion
to preserve Millburn, wants to see Route 45 re-routed to
the west of its present path, allowing Millburn, with no
legal boundaries and about 30 to 40 residents, to retain
and enhance its quaint past.
The association was formed in February 1979, with eight
selectmen elected to form a board.
Association Chairman Dorothy Fettinger said Old Mill Creek
officials, just to the east of Millburn, have aided
Millburn in its effort to retain its rural character. Old
Mill Creek, with a 1996 population of 71, recently annexed
both sides of Route 45 into its incorporated village, even
though historic Millburn is not itself incorporated and has
The board meets at the general store on the first Tuesday
night of every month. Among those still remaining on the
board are Fettinger, Mildred Elsbury Haisma and Ruth White.
Rounding out the current board are Linda Muzek, Jennifer
Andrew, and Wolfgang (treasurer) and Dorothy Berthold.
About a year ago, said Haisma, the "backbone of the board,"
Joseph and Reva Konefes, moved to Iowa.
Over the years the board sought the aid and advice of
officials from Old Mill Creek, the Landmarks Preservation
Committee, the Lake County State's Attorney's office, and
the county Building and Zoning Department.
One of the best ways to protect Millburn, said Chairman
Fettinger, was to place homes on the National Register of
Historic Places, as was done with 18 homes in 1979.
That way, the board reasoned, any additional lanes of a
federally funded highway, like Route 45, could not be
installed through a national register district.
Fettinger said that re-routing Route 45 just to the west
presented no natural obstacles other than MacDonald's
Forest Preserve. And forest preserve officials have voiced
support of re-routing the road, said Fettinger.
The Illinois Department of Transportation recently drew a
mathematical center line of a re-routed Route 45, said
Fettinger. State Sen. Adeline Geo-Karis and 62nd District
State Rep. Timothy Osmond have given the project support,
said Fettinger, as did former State Rep. Bob Churchill.
Millburn's roots are part of Lake County's historic fabric.
Between 1835 and 1844, the area that would become Millburn
welcomed a sawmill, then the homesteading Strang brothers
and finally the arrival of an abolitionist minister, Rev.
William Bradford Dodge.
Route 45, running north and south through Millburn, was
eventually bisected by Millburn Road, coming from the east,
jogging to the north across Route 45, and heading west as
Grass Lake Road.
In 1862 Richard Pantall built the first stage of a store
later to become Martin's General Store, on the northeast
corner of the village's only intersection. In 1985, the
general store would become the Historic Millburn Community
Mildred Haisma lives just two doors south of the general
store, in a home built in 1858, about 13 years after the
first frame homes began to replace log cabins in Millburn.
She and her husband, John, moved to Millburn from Warren
Township in 1949.
Haisma said traffic remains a big problem as surrounding
areas, like Lindenhurst, Gurnee and Antioch expand.
"The two new stop lights about four or five years ago
slowed it down some," said Haisma, "but there's just too
much of it. I live across the street from the church
(Millburn Congregational United Church of Christ) and it's
pretty impossible to walk across the street to church."
To Haisma, Millburn is a place that people want to live out
their years in. "Most of the people who have left Millburn
who have lived here a long time, have left in a wooden
box," she said.
The general store hours are Saturday and Sunday, from 12:30
p.m. to 4 p.m.