Historical Society Works to Make Sure Fort Hill Country's Never Forgotten

Article excerpt

Byline: AbScalf Daily Herald Staff Writer

Take a trip back in time to the early 1800s to a place called Fort Hill Country, an unsettled prairie in central Lake County.

Members of the Historical Society of Fort Hill Country will serve as your tour guides.

Thomas Schmitt, a charter member of the historical society, said Fort Hill Country covered 62 square miles that today is all of Fremont Township and parts of Avon, Libertyville and Wauconda townships.

One of the area's early immigrants, Thomas Payne, suggested the name Fort Hill because of its vantage point in seeing the surrounding country. Schmitt said Fort Hill Cemetery, established in 1844, and an early Fort Hill School, now a residence, prove the community of Fort Hill existed. He said a post office, named Fort Hill, was established in 1838 on the southwest corner of Route 120 and Fairfield Road.

Formed on Oct. 15, 1956 by Rev. Delbert Schrag, Richard Johnson, George Brainerd and others, the Historical Society of Fort Hill Country was designed to preserve the history of Fort Hill Country.

Since the society's formation, members have investigated and collected data pertinent to the area. Schmitt said artifacts were once kept in people's homes because the society did not have a place to store them.

Due to Schmitt's efforts in 1980, the Soo Line Railroad donated the Mundelein Soo Line Depot to the society so it could be renovated as the Heritage Museum. The public is invited to see the memorabilia at the museum, 601 E. Noel Drive, Mundelein, by taking a tour or attending an open house.

"We're trying to give to the community an opportunity to learn the history of Mundelein, of Lake County," society member Dottie Watson said.

Walk through the museum and see a plum-colored wedding dress from 1882, a flint-lock musket used in the Revolutionary War in 1774 and relics uncovered at the site of the old homestead of the Joice family, the first black family to live in the area. …