A touch of history towers 80 feet above a park in Grayslake

  • A pedestrian appears as a dot at the upper right pushing a stroller along the trail below the 80-foot smokestack at Gelatin Park in Grayslake.

    A pedestrian appears as a dot at the upper right pushing a stroller along the trail below the 80-foot smokestack at Gelatin Park in Grayslake. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/8/2021 5:15 PM

For 60 years, the Grayslake Gelatin Co. was the suburb's industrial heart and one of its main employers.

The factory closed in 1982, and the building was demolished about five years ago after the village bought the property to turn it into the park that occupies the land today.

 

But the 80-foot smokestack that remains is an iconic part of Grayslake and was preserved when the rest of the factory was torn down.

The building that once stood there had been constructed in 1912 as part of a canning operation for the Wisconsin Condensed Milk Co., then converted 10 years later to produce gelatin.

Gelatin Park is located just west of the Grayslake Area Public Library near downtown.

This drone view from about 180 feet highlights the walking trails, benches and picnic tables. An exercise/sled hill sits just to the east of the smokestack.

The 10-acre park provides additional open space near Central Park, which has a band shell, ball fields, a spray park, a playground and an aquatic center.

• If you have an idea for something you'd like to see our drone pilots photograph from the air, email your suggestion to skyview@dailyherald.com.

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