Museum damaged in crash still under repair
by Kate Grusich Daily Herald Staff Writer
It will be at least another month before visitors can stroll through one of
Lake County's oldest buildings and peruse the antiques and old-fashioned
Nearly nine months after a car crashed into Martin's General Store Museum
in Millburn, causing extensive structural and interior damage, the doors
remain closed to the public and cleanup is still under way.
While volunteers had hoped to reopen earlier this summer, the process of
repairing artifacts, getting appraisals and scanning inventory lists has just
been too lengthy.
"It's going very poorly," said Dorothy Fettinger, chairwoman of the Historic
Millburn Community Association, which owns and operates the museum.
"We're a group of older people. Some have been on vacation, some have
been working. We had hoped to have it all cleaned out by now, but it's just
The car crash occurred Dec. 4, when a motorist, apparently heading east on
Grass Lake Road, crossed Route 45 and hit a corner of the building. The
driver, an 18-year-old Lake Villa man, was later charged with driving under
the influence of alcohol and improper lane usage. Nobody was in the store
on Route 45 at the time of the crash, but the driver and a passenger were
Since then, volunteers have cleaned artifacts and rearranged the showcases.
Because many of the items were irreplaceable - historical artifacts donated by
area families - full restoration is pretty much impossible. Yet, volunteers are
optimistic they can make the museum better than ever.
So far, windows blown out in the crash have been replaced, the porch has
been restored, and the corner of the building hit by the car has been repaired.
Martin's General Store opened in 1887 and is not listed on the National
Register of Historic Places.
It was built in 1862 by Richard Pantall and served for years as the Millburn
post office. After some time, Edward Martin, a young orphan reared by the
Pantall family, took over the business. Martin's son, Richard, willed the
building t the historic association in 1985, requesting it be used as a
Before the crash, the museum maintained weekend hours and was open for
Fettinger said organizers hope to get the museum back up and running
within the next couple of months.