Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lost Towns of Illinois - Grayland, Illinois

Grayland, a suburb of Chicago (annexed in 1889) was created by subdividing John Gray's farm. Gray deeded the land that he had already built a depot on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad line. In return for the property, the R.R. promised to maintain and service the depot, thus ensuring that the inhabitants of Gray's subdivision would have easy transport to Chicago and back. The station was opened in 1873 to service Grayland.

John Gray, of Grayland, Illinois, a beautiful Chicago suburb, was at one time the jolly landlord at the Green Tree Tavern from 1838 to 1841 when it was called the Chicago Hotel.
When not kept busy with his guests sat in the door and shot wolves that came to carry away his young pigs at the barn across the street.

November of 1840 may be dated the earliest fair footing of education in Chicago with the first schoolhouse. The Board of Education then consisted of John Gray, Wm, Jones, John Young Scammon, Isaac N. Arnold, Nathan H. Balles, J. H. Scott, and Hiram Hugunin. Teachers were paid $100 for a quarter, consisting of three months.

The first public school building worth mention was erected in 1843 and stood where The Inter Ocean office stood (on the northwest corner of Madison and Dearborn at 85 West Madison [under the old Chicago street numbering]). It was built at the urgent instance of Alderman Miltimore, and was for years known as "Miltimore's Folly," it is very generally assumed that there would never be enough children in Chicago to fill so large a building.

Today, the Grayland Station is a Metra commuter railroad station in the Old Irving Park neighborhood in Chicago along the Milwaukee District/North Line. It is located at 3729 North Kilbourn Street, which is 8.2 miles away from Union Station, the southern terminus of the line, and serves commuters between Union Station and Fox Lake, Illinois.

NOTE: Additional reading about John Gray; The Township of Jefferson, Illinois, Chapter VII, is in my Digital Research Library of Illinois History®

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. A couple of things? 1) at the east end of Portage Park Chicago, there is a suspicious ridge! Is it an Indian burial mound? 2) Having arrived in the area of Addison and Kedzie in 1950, I learned that an old Indian fighter Cavalry man Lived just off the corner of Christiana and Grace St. Ironic as it may seem, and aged Indian woman lived in the basement near Sawyer and Grace, just a stones throw away, one block East! Just a touch of the way things were not too long ago!

    1. There are no known Indian burial mounds in Portage Park, Chicago. The area was once home to the Potawatomi tribe, but they did not build burial mounds in the area. The closest known burial mounds to Portage Park are the Winfield Mounds in West Chicago, Illinois. These mounds were built by the Hopewell culture, which flourished in the Midwest between 200 BC and 500 AD. The Winfield Mounds are dome-shaped and set in a triangular pattern. They are the only documented prehistoric burial/effigy site in DuPage County.


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