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Residents Reminisce About Westerfield Place

How did the north-south street get its name?

Westerfield Place in Grayslake. Photo credit: Grayslake Historical Society
Westerfield Place in Grayslake. Photo credit: Grayslake Historical Society
Eighteen Westerfield Place residents, former residents and friends gathered Saturday morning at the Grayslake Heritage Center to share stories, adventures and recollections of life on Westerfield Place at a different time in history.

The session was another in the periodic reminisce series sponsored and hosted by the Grayslake Historical Society.

The hour-long sessions on recalled memories of various organizations, occupations and streets in Grayslake are recorded and preserved in the Archives of the Society. Some recollections are mailed in to the Society and are read during the sessions.

Trivia question: How did Westerfield Place, a north-south street on the east side of town, get its name? The consensus was that it is named after a railroad company surveyor.

Many of the participants Saturday were neighbors, former neighbors and friends and initially they talked about who lived where and when on the street. Also discussed was how the homes have changed throughout the years with remodeling and renovations. It was recalled that at one time two homes were actually moved off the street to other locations a short distance away. According to one former resident the Westerfield neighborhood several years ago was a do-it-yourself community with residents sharing advice, labor and tools for various home improvement projects.

It was noted that the renovation of homes is continuing on the street. Several people commented on the return of porches on the homes on the street. Westerfield Place was, it was noted, a street with many homes with front and wrap-around porches. They were pleased that some homes on the street are beginning to have these porches once again after they had previously been torn down.

Those attending who grew up on the street 40, 50 and 60 years ago recalled their childhood adventures along the street that included playing in the nearby woods, climbing trees and splashing in the creek along the Avon drainage ditch catching crayfish and snakes, rafting, and shooting their BB or pellet guns. "The creek was a big part of our young lives," one resident said. Also recalled were the neighborhood baseball games in the nearby fields.

Particularly noted by many was that the children then walked home and back for lunch from nearby Lakeview School.

One former resident wrote about the Westerfield Lawn and Garden Society that he said "was a glorified name for an annual September noisy block party." He recalled many of the incidents and pranks at the parties and wrote about a noisy parade the group staged down the street. The neighborhood group also entered a float in the Grayslake Bicentennial parade in 1976 that featured the children in the neighborhood riding on a flatbed truck.

Near the end of the program, one resident commented that Westerfield Place is still "a fun place," but the names have changed and different families are continuing the friendly traditions of the neighborhood.

The Grayslake Historical Society is planning to continue the On The Street Where You Live sessions with the next one tentatively set for spring.

Hours at the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum are noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and during various downtown Grayslake events. The archives of the Grayslake Historical Society are open on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and by appointment.

—Submitted by the Grayslake Historical Society.

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