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Newspaper Clippings for
April, 2002

from the Daily Herald newspaper 18 April 2002
Museum rebuilding after being struck by car
by Kate Grusich, Daily Herald Staff Writer
From cleaning off artifacts to scanning inventory lists, volunteers at one of Lake County's oldest buildings have put in plenty of overtime in recent days.
Just over four months ago, a car crashed into Martin's General Store Museum on Route 45 in Millburn, causing extensive structural and interior damage.
While museum employees are still reeling from the loss of many irreplaceable items, historical artifacts donated by area families, they are determined to make the old-fashioned store/museum better than ever after restoration.
"The wreck kind of caused us a setback, but we would like to have it back like it would have been back when it was first established," said Dorothy Fettinger, chairwoman of the Historic Millburn Community Association, which owns and operates the museum.
The crash occurred Dec. 6, when a motorist apparently heading east on Grass Lake Road crossed Route 45 and hit a corner of the store building.
The driver, an 18-year-old Lake Villa man, was later charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and improper lane usage. While nobody was in the building at the time of the crash, both the driver and a passenger suffered injuries.
"Thankfully, nobody was in the building when it happened," Fettinger said. "Half an hour later, we had a board of directors meeting there. The car hit the corner, and the front end was sticking into the building. It moved enough to shake the stuff off the shelves inside."
Martin's General Store opened in 1887 and is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The store was built in 1862 by Richard Pantall and served for years at the Millburn post office. After some years, Edward Martin, a young orphan reared by the Pantall family, took over the business. He eventually retired from the general store in 1958, and the site was leased to other merchants. Martin's son, Richard, willed the building to the historic association in 1985, with the request that it be used as a museum.
Fettinger said insurance companies are still determining the amount of the damage. Between clothing and goods spoiled by radiator water and artifacts broken or covered with dirt, the cleanup is expected to take a few more months.
"You can hardly even walk through the building right now,' she said. "There were so many things (damaged) that are one-of-a-kind. Some of the old dolls were broken, a mercury glass vase, poor man's silver.
Before the crash, Martin's General Store maintained weekend hours and was open for school tours. Officials hope to reopen the museum to the public by June 1.
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