A little block building near the railroad tracks in the oldest part of Mundelein is there for the taking, if you can move it.
Owner Glenn Garamoni suspects the small structure on his property on the southwest corner of Morris Avenue and Route 176 originally was a blacksmith shop.
“I’m trying to give it away because I’m selling the property,” he said.
“I want to donate it to somebody who would move it. I hate to see it knocked down.”
In 1981, Garamoni leased the property, best known for a Quonset hut structure, from the California owner and took over the used car business that operated there facing Route 176.
Garamoni bought the property in 1987 and ran the used car business for several years.
A nondescript building on the west side of the property that had been altered over time came with the purchase. Garamoni said the small outbuilding contained a blacksmith forge when he first entered it in the 1960s.
An iron box in the rear and guy wires to hold a flue for the forge also suggest its original use, Garamoni said.
While it may once have been a blacksmith shop, evidence of its origin could not be found, according to Mike Flynn, chairman of the Mundelein Historical Commission.
“Glenn offered that (building) to us awhile ago,” Flynn said. “We really can’t confirm what it was.”
Flynn said the offer was declined based on the difficulty of moving it and lack of official confirmation of its use. But the commission may be interested in salvaging some of the concrete blocks.
Concrete block used in a building in the oldest part of Mundelein is stamped with the name “Rockefeller.” The town of Holcomb incorporated as Rockefeller in 1909 but changed is name to Area later that year. The J.L. Irving Cement Block Factory operated on the site in 1909.
– Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer
There is a long and varied history to the buildings and area known as 131-135 E. Maple St.
“We know the J.L. Irving Cement Block Factory operated on that site in the early 1900s,” according to Flynn.
Concrete blocks used to build the small structure are stamped with the name “Rockefeller” and it’s possible it was built in 1909, Flynn said.
The town originally was called Holcomb, after John Holcomb, who was active in the area’s development. In 1909, it incorporated as Rockefeller but changed its name later that year to Area before becoming Mundelein in 1925.
Moore’s gas station and towing service operated in the main building in the 1940s and 1950s. Moore is said to have used the small cement block building for repairing cars. He obtained the Quonset hut as government surplus and added it to the property in 1946.
Subsequent uses of the property included Sessler Ford used cars, Mundelein teen center, used car sales, Village Furniture, Village Mall Antiques, The Whatnot Shop and Best Car Care, according to Flynn.
Flynn said Holcomb’s 80-acre holdings may have included Garamoni’s property. In any case, Garamoni’s buildings and two others down the street are being acquired and will be cleared for Morris Station, a 139-unit townhouse development.
“I like old stuff,” Garamoni said. “I like old cars. I like old homes. I thought somebody might want this.”
Anyone interested in the building can contact Garamoni at (847) 812-2175.