New Map at Grayslake Heritage Center Detail Structures in Village in 1934

The Sanborn map provides information like the fire ratings of buildings and how the homes were constructed.

Photo credit: Grayslake Historical Society
Photo credit: Grayslake Historical Society
Submitted by the Grayslake Historical Society 

Genealogists, planners, preservationists and other history buffs have a new research tool available to them in the Grayslake Historical Society Archives at the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum, 164 Hawley St.  

Ron Roselli of Grayslake, a member of the Grayslake Historical Society, donated to the museum several photocopied pages of what is known as a Sanborn map that details every structure in Grayslake in 1934. The fire insurance maps detail every building in Grayslake then, including houses, barns, ice houses, garages, etc. 

Researchers can determine from the maps the fire ratings of these buildings and how they were constructed. One genealogist said the information can be used to trace the economic status of long-lost relatives. How the home was constructed, what part of town was the building located and who were the neighbors can be determined by using the maps.

The recent donation also includes various facts and figures about the Grayslake Fire Department in 1934 and details about the water supply in the village that helped determine the fire insurance rates for the residents in 1934. Fire ratings for each building are included.

In the village in 1934, there were 7.23 miles of water mains with 92 fire hydrants. The average daily water consumption for the village was 60,000 gallons daily that was pumped from wells.

The fire department was volunteer and the men were paid per fire call. There was one fire station, one fire chief, one assistant fire chief and 16 men serving the department. Also listed is detailed information about the various fire-fighting equipment available fo the department in 1934.

Among the many other maps available in the Society Archives to researchers and other people are land ownership maps of Lake County, migration trail maps, railroad maps, and other historical maps.

The Newberry Library in Chicago is one of several libraries in the Chicago area with extensive collections of fire insurance maps. Newberry is located at 60 W. Walton St., directly across from Washington Square Park, also known as Bughouse Square. The library is free and open to the public for anyone conducting research on a topic covered by the library collections. 

A Newberry spokesman noted the fire insurance maps "show the footprints of buildings and other structures as well as the construction material (masonry, frame, etc.), use (garage, bakery, residence), and other information." The maps were published "to help insurers determine the level of risk involved in insuring particular properties against fire.”

The Sanborn Map Company Inc. was founded in 1866 by surveyor Daniel Sanborn in Somerville, Mass. It is now headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO.

Hours at the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum are noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and during the Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings and during other downtown Grayslake events.


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