A Trip Down Memory Lane

So, how long have YOU been a resident of the Round Lake Area? Do you remember when we used to enjoy a movie at the old theatre that was located where Blockbuster now sits? And an ice cream cone from Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors after the movie? I’ve always wondered why the old theatre closed and the strip eventually demolished altogether. I was going through a local area presentation book that I used to use and thought I would jar your memories with several photos that show the original shopping areas at Rollins & Rt. 83. Since Grayslake wanted to stay a bedroom community rather than embrace commercial development, Round Lake Beach became the beneficiary of huge tax dollars from this commercial intersection. The person that I give most of the credit to is former Mayor Carl Schrimpf who, with his Board of Trustees, had the foresight to arrange for a pretreatment plant to handle the sewage prior to it entering the overloaded Round Lake Sanitary System. This was back before the Round Lake area started sending their waste to the new Fox Lake plant. It was years before Grayslake finally woke up, with residents complaining about their high taxes, and decided to pursue commercial development with the first major one developed where the old Grayslake Outdoor Theatre used to be.

Remember when these stores existed back in the 80’s? Many of them have either moved elsewhere or fallen to the wayside.

ZAYRE – Kinney Shoes – Walgreen’s and others

OMNI – Fanney May – TCBY and others

Old K-MART – Red Noodle – Midas and others

Old Wal-Mart – Auto Express and others

Jewel-Osco – Little Ceasars – Flipside and others

Ace Hardware – Wholesale Furniture – Office Supplies and others

First of America Bank

Now known as PNC Bank, it also could be history (demolished)
if the intersection gets major renovation

Did you like the ABOVE article? Share it:


  • Mark

    Thanks for having these photos available to the rest of us who grew up in Round Lake! I have tried to tell my children about what Round Lake was once like but it is so different now! Please let me know if you have any additional photos! I have some neat old stuff including Round Lake transit tokens!

  • Mark

    A few more neat memories,

    McDonalds was in Round Lake Heights.

    Eagle foods was located on Cedar Lake Rd. That spot later became Aldi foods, then Aldi moved to Rollins Rd. Eagle moved to Rollins Rd. then closed. Eagle building is now Big Lots. That same strip mall contained an auto parts store and a drug store.

    Walgreens was near Zayre.

    Golden Bear later turned into Blue Bay and is now Mrs V’s (I think that’s the new name?).

    The original section of Magee Middle School (now demolished) withstood a tornado in the 1920’s and protected every student inside! It was the first consolidated school in Lake County!

    There used to be a school building on Hart Rd. at Fairfield Rd. There was also a school building near the location of the Fun Wash on Rollins Rd. by Kristoff’s.

    Kristoff’s was once a dairy farm. The original farmhouse is still visible if you look very closely at the roof line of Kristoff’s. There are still peaks in the roof that show the old farmhouse roof. The original rock foundation still exists under Kristoff’s in the basement!

    Houses are now located in areas where graveyards once existed!

    Round Lake Heights used to be called Indian Hill.

    There are Indian burial mounds throughout the Round Lake Area.

    I coud go on and on. Please don’t let the history of Round Lake be forgotten!

  • Mark

    One more thing I just remembered, the oldest building in Round Lake? If I remember correctly it is the dry cleaners located at the interesection of Cedar Lake Rd. at Rte 134. The building is on the corner and is white with black stripes (atleast it was the last time I saw it). That buiding was buit in Hainesville and was later moved to Round Lake. It served as a general store and even housed the post office!

  • Mark

    More fun stuff,

    There was a junk yard where the old Wal Mart and McDonalds were built. During the construction of the Round lake Civic Center and train station old car wheels where turned up from the junk yard.

    The Round Lake Beach police department used to be located in an old building on Cedar Lake Rd. at Clarendon. That building started out on the Renwood golf course and was moved to the Cedar Lake Rd. location which is now a park. The the police department moved to the building that is now Smart Choice Auto in Round Lake Heights, then it moved to it’s present location.

    The Round Lake Heights police department was in the building that is now WRLR radio. The old holding cell still exists in the radio station.

    Businesses long gone and missed:

    “Oaks” hotdogs (Rte 134 near Fairfield)

    “Uncle Dom’s” Hotdogs (Fairfield at Long Lake Rd.)

    Altman’s (Cedar Lake Rd.)

    Challengers Gameroom (Round Lake Park) “We miss you Joe!”

    “Zenith” (Rte 134 Round Lake Park).

    “Round Lake Music Shop” Cedar Lake Rd.

    “Park Pets” (Now Round Lake Park police department building).

    “Zooland” (Rollins Rd.)

    The arcade that was by Zayre.

    The arcade that was part of the building that is now Tacos El Norte.

    “Time Out” gameroom at South Channel at Cedar Lake Rd.

    Video store located on Rollins at Turnbull.

  • Mark

    I hope my comments make it onto this website! There are so many more facts and historical tidbits that need to be spoken!

    Do you know where to find indian arrowheads and artifacts? I do, it’s squaw creek! Many arrowheads have been found there! I can tell you where to look!

    Did you know Abe Lincoln was reported to have held secret meetings in Round Lake? I can tell you where!

    Round Lake holds so much more than meets the eye!

  • Gene Carey

    Mark ~ Thank you for adding your comments to our ‘Trip Down Memory Lane”.

    I wasn’t aware that the Round Lake area had so much Indian lore. When I travelled on Grass Lake Road between Fairfield & Cedar Lake Rd., I used to tell my clients that the big mound on the south side of the street was an Indian burial ground and later found out that it REALLY was!

    We used to take the kids to Oaks after every baseball game since they had plenty of parking and good ice cream. The old building you mentioned at Cedar Lake and Rt 134 is currently a State Farm insurance office if my memory is correct. The auto parts store that was at the very end is now a Mexican food store with a great butcher shop (but you might need a translator to know what you are buying). The owner bought the parsonage house on Nippersink that had a huge garage that could be used for additional supply storage.

    When I lived in the Park, we always shopped at the old Eagle and to this day I still have one of their abandoned shopping carts (after they closed) at the bottom of my clothes chute. I used to get my hair cut in the same strip mall by a local beautician who eventually lost her sight. Her and her husband’s kids went to school with mine and we became good friends.

    Do you remember when Karl Johannson was one of the major builders in town? He and his wife Gabriella lived on Lake Shore Drive about three houses away from the lakefront park. He moved to Wisconsin for awhile and developed an area surrounded by a lake but when the drought hit, it all went bust and he eventually moved back here. Gabriella loved singing in the choir at St. Joseph’s Church.

    Another place that was a lot of fun was Captain Majors, located behind the Round Lake Roller Rink (whose roof collapsed this winter while sitting vacant and for sale). The music blasted from Captains since it was set back so far from other homes.

    The old RLB police station lot is now a war memorial and the old RLB village hall had some exterior support installed years ago and a cool looking new roof put on after problems arose. It currently houses the Lake County office for local assistance that started out in the Park on Rt. 134.

    And, how about the old train depot! It seated about twenty people if they sat tight and was cold as could be. Seems as though they tried to save and move it as a historical building but didn’t get ant takers.

    Ace Hardware was THE place to go, being the largest Ace in the State and the only place around where you could find just about anything you needed (long before the big box stores). They eventually caused the small hardware in the Heights as well as the one on Nippersink, across from the old post office, to fold.

    We could go on and on with some of our memories, having moved here in the 60’s from Chicago. I think when I get some time, I will convert the photos above from .bmp to .jpg to make this page load faster. If you or anyone else has some photos to add, please send them to comments@District116.org so that we can include them.

  • Mark


    I am trying to picture the mound of dirt on Grass lake Rd. I will have to check that out! If you go north on Fairfield and turn right onto Grand (132) on the right side of the road about a quarter mile down was a large hill that always had a cross at the top. I never did find out what that hill might have been? There is a marked indian burial area near Rollins Rd. and Wilson Rd.

    I believe there was an old indian camp and burial area off Nippersink Rd. west of Fairfield.

    Back in the 1980’s I saw documents relating that President Lincoln had attended meetings at the Squaw Creek Farm. That farm still exists in Round Lake.

    I have always had fond memories of the Ace Hardware store on Rte 134. I went there as a child and I always liked looking at the fish tanks and convincing my mom or grandma to get me fish. Remember when it seemed almost all hardware or drug stores had a pet section with birds and fish?

    There was a railroad themed restaurant located next to Ace. I can barely recall a lot of wood decor and train photos inside.

    As a child we lived on a farm located on Nippersink Rd. My mother would take us horseback riding through the woods near Mud Lake and we would tie the horses up by the picnic tables at “Oaks Hotdogs” and eat. I tell my kids about that now and they can’t even imagine doing that. We didn’t have a car back then and our grandmother used to come drive us places. Sometimes we would walk to the old part of town near Cedar Lake Rd and Nippersink.

    I didn’t know the roller rink roof caved in? I remember when that roller rink was the place to be for all the teenagers on the weekends.

  • Mark


    I also have that “Round Lake Transit Token”, I was told it was for a toll that was collected on Hainesville Rd when it was first constructed. I thought it would have something to do with the railroad. It says “Round Lake, IL. Good for One Fare.” It is a small metal coin.


  • Gene Carey


    That mound of dirt you referred to is the one I was talking about. It still sits there in a field all by itself and I think that is the one they said WAS a burial mound

    I always thought that Mud Lake was on the SW corner of Washington and Hainesville Rd. It was hidden back off the road and my kids used to sneak over the farmers fence and fish there. Now they have built a bunch of condos at the intersection and improved the areas surrounding the lake which has been renamed Cranberry Lake as it abuts another, even bigger, condo/single family area by the same name. That subdivision went through quite a devaluation even before the market tanking because when they built it, buyers were told it was in the Grayslake school district. That turned out to be inaccurate since it was in the R.L district and immediately saw a drop in valuation.

    When I moved out here in the early 60’s I was used to having places open when Johnny Carson came on at 10:30 to get some munchies, etc. I soon learned what the phrase meant when they said “They pull the sidewalks in at dusk”. There wasn’t a single place open to get a hot dog or a half gallon of ice cream after dark. What is now known as The Pizza Place on Rt 134 used to be a hot dog joint until the Mayor of RLP bought it. I tend to think they were in business even before Scotties on Cedar Lake Road.

    The restaurant with the railroad theme is still there, called the Iron Horse and across from the train station. It may have had a different name at one time that included the word ‘railroad’ but I can’t think of it right now. I used to meet with local builders who gathered there for breakfast when I was actively selling real estate. I took the photos above for my marketing book and will have to look through it to see what else I may have in there. I’ve always thought about putting together an online photo album showing the types of homes built in the area and who the builders were. Most agents these days don’t have a clue who built some of the earlier homes. The house that Karl and Gabriella Johannson lived in on Lake Shore Drive was torn down a couple of years ago to make way for a walking bridge connecting additional waterfront park land on the other side of the channel. If you look back at my April 15th entry, you will see photos of the newest addition:

    You mentioned earlier, Park Pets. When I lived in the Park my kids were into fish and we had quite a few tanks. When the females would have babies we would sell them to park pets for a dime apiece. Remember the old resale shop next to the pet store that looked like an airplane hanger? I believe that it was a ‘wild’ bar before it became a resale shop. Boy, you couldn’t find better sides of beef than at Stop-And-Save at Rt 134 and Fairlawn. They had a butcher that really knew how to pick a good side of beef and they never short changed you on what you were supposed to receive.

    I donated $500 towards the WRLR radio tower and remember when one of the fellows climbed the tower to install the antenna (in RLH). It was so windy I couldn’t believe anyone would have attempted that. I also donated a brand new color TV and a TIVO for their waiting area. That was all, back when they were just getting their signal strength up to the maximum allowed. They have set the standard for low level radio stations and continue to cover this area’s news very well.

    Our families favorite place to eat was Red Noodle when it was in the Rollins Road shopping strip. Many times you stood outside the door waiting to get their 99 cent spaghetti special. Then they moved to their new location on Rt 83 and added liquor and a salad bar. Over time, with price increases, that business lost its luster and the owner went into the auto parts business and the son became a Realtor as well as our current Township Supervisor. Nothing stays the same 🙂

  • […] According to one of our new subscribers, the building shown below at Rt 134 and Cedar Lake Rd. is the OLDEST existing building in Round Lake. According to our reader. it may have originally been a dry cleaners at this location. It was originally built in Hainesville and served as a general store as well as their post office prior to being moved to this location. If you have some fond memories of growing up in the Round Lake Area, be sure to share them with us on our earlier post at “A Trip Down Memory Lane” […]

  • Mark


    The lake I understood to be Mud Lake was off Nippersink Rd between Nippersink and Rte 134. The trails in that area were always called Mud Lake. There were actually two small “lakes” in that area and Squaw creek running between them and connecting to Long Lake. The Round Lake Park District now owns what was known as “Mud Lake.” Of course Mud Lake is a common name which may have been used to describe many swamp type lakes. One of my fondest memories was that there was an old wooden boat that rotted it’s way into history while sinking into Mud Lake. I’m sure scraps of wood still remain under the sludge.

    The railroad themed restaurant I was trying to mention was located in the space that became the Lobo Club. I am familiar with the Iron Horse which I believe still remains near the bank on Rte 134.

    Stop and Save (now you are bringing back memories.) I used to walk there with my friends who lived near there. I shopped there during the closing sale and one more business bacame history.

    I was a police officer in Round Lake Heights while WRLR was getting started and I remember the struggles they had. My dear friend Dave “Davey D” was a DJ there as they started. He had a show called “The Heart of the Matter.” He is what they call a “class act.” A good man with a heart of gold. The current Chief of Police in Round Lake Heights is another great man. John Roehlk who was a long time Sergeant is now Chief and Round Lake Heights is in great hands.

    I have always viewed Round Lake Heights as a great little village which remains true to it’s heritage.

    Red Noodle (once again you are bringing back the memories.) Red Noodle was a classy little joint and it is a shame it’s gone. I wish I could take my wife there now.

    Gene, I have a feeling we are woven from the same cloth. It is a pleasure talking with you!


  • Mark


    I can’t see the picture of the building you mention as the oldest building, but just to make sure it is the same one, it is located on the southwest corner of Rte 134 and Cedar Lake Rd. It would be on the same side of the road as Copas and a few doors north of the vacant lot that was the Brass Wheel. It is on the opposite side of Cedar Lake Rd. from the old concrete building that still says “Bank” on the facade.

    It is a wooden structure that has a bit of a wedge shape inside. I had an old photo of cowboy looking gents standing outside it and Cedar Lake Rd was all mud back then.

    Also a bank robbery hand been commited at the concrete building that still reads “Bank.” The robber was quickly captured by angry local residents and merchants who wern’t about to watch their money walk away.


  • Mark

    I’m not sure what the building served as while it was in Hainesville but once relocated to Round Lake it became a small general store, drug store, and the post office. They actually used hooks to catch the mail bags as trains passed by.

    Most recently (2007) it was a dry cleaners. When I told the owner of the dry cleaners about the history he was unaware, however quite interested, in its historic past.

  • Gene Carey

    Mark ~ I thought you were talking about the old building on the SE corner and will have to re-shoot the right building and replace it here. I enjoyed quite a number of election victory celebrations at the Brass Wheel and can still hear Dave Goshgarian’s deep voice ringing in my ears. I lost contact with him over the years (he was my Realtor when I first moved our here) but always enjoyed being in his company. He wound up with a smaller office over on Rt 12 with his daughter after closing up shop in RL.

    If memory serves me correctly it was Davey who climbed the tower to put the antenna up in RLH on that windy day. I can’t remember the couples name who were also there from the start (he designed and maintained RLP website). His wife would call in when he was on the morning show and act like someone else calling in traffic reports. Once I told him that the person was SO annoying to listen to which is when he told me that it was his wife 🙂 I can remember driving around to see just how far their signal was reaching, often as far as Beach Park, where my folks lived.

    Another old place that has stood the test of time is the simple car wash on Rollins with the elephant on top. You could soap up your car with one quarter and then rinse it with another one. Nowadays, you can’t do anything for fifty cents.

    One thing that hasn’t changed about the heights is what I refer to as Lumpkin’s Lake which has extended its reach almost to Rollins Rd. It seems as though this ‘lake’ didn’t form until they built Meadowgreen subdivision and took away the natural drainage. My kids bought their first townhome in Meadowgreen with negative amortization. They never went up the expected amount in value so people started walking away from them since they had no equity. My kids brought over $12,000 to the closing table and moved back in with me for six months while they saved up for a down payment on a new house in Wonder Lake.

    I first learned how to water ski in Long Lake. I would come out with friends from Chicago and we would spend the day on the water, often swallowing half the lake while learning how to ski. Then, after I married and eventually moved to the Park, I drove past Long Lake and saw all the bubbles near the shore. Little did I know that those bubbles were coming from septic systems located on the summer homes there. Ugh!! To think I was swallowing all that in my earlier days! Sabatini’s was one of my favorite places for a nice family meal. Remember when Sammie’s was on the corner of Cedar Lake and Rollins, long before Walgreen’s built there?

    The old video store you mentioned earlier had all of the ‘racy’ videos upstairs and when you were ready to check out, you could do it from the upper level to avoid getting ‘looks’ at the lower level checkout. My girlfriend, at the time, liked those types of videos so I would send her in, fearing that one of my clients would see me going ‘upstairs’! The video store that took over the old McDonald’s eventually put them out of business.

    I was in the local Jaycees and, long before we had an ‘expensive’ park district, we created and maintained the park that existed where Beach elementary school now stands. I wasted many a mower blade while keeping it looking nice and hitting everything that people threw in the grass. One of the ‘hotshots’ in the organization, at the time, was a sales representative for the log homes they built behind Orlando’s (was it Lincoln Homes?). He lived in one of the two models. They never built many of the homes and I can’t think of any others that ended up in areas of RL., but a few in Fox Lake.

  • Mark


    Have you seen the spot where Sabatini’s once stood, its empty now. Ralph Sabatini went on to manage Austin’s in Libertyville. It must have been hard for them to sell that property, it had been in their family for generations.

    I owned and remodeled a 1920’s home next to Sabatini’s. It was my grandparents home before I purchased it so I grew up with many great memories of that area and Long Lake. While remodeling the home I found lots of old newspapers in the walls with mob related headlines. The newspaper with the St. Valentines Day massacre was in there along with a pair of eyeglasses and a walking cane.

    “Davey D’s” morning show was on the air from 10am to 12pm on Tuesdays. He always had a positive message delivered with with stories.

    I never knew about the upper level of the video store!


  • Gene Carey

    Mark ~ I corrected the photo on a recent post which now shows the dry cleaners at Rt. 134 & Cedar Lake Rd. I can recall when there used to be a Henny Penny chicken business operating out of the rear which is now a tavern.

    Sabatini’s changed hands and when they did, the new owners should have requested keeping the name as part of the purchase price. It never did get going again and the new dance hall facing the lake took away a lot of their evening business. I had a listing behind the dance hall several years ago and the streets back in there were so narrow you could hardly pass a parked car. The siblings were selling their Dad’s home after he passed away and I’m sure that there may have been some interesting things tucked away in the rafters and walls. He lived there for many years and at one time owned a food locker business (not sure if he was a butcher or ??? ). Anyway, there were a lot of lockers in the basement with interesting items that the kids eventually disposed of.

  • Mark

    I may know the people who owned the house you mentioned. There is so much history in that area. There used to be farm equipment and an old foundation of a farm house out in the Grant forest preserve. There was also glowing fungus out there which I had never seen anywhere else before.

    Remember Nix’s store where Ashley furniture is now? They sold all sorts of odds and ends in there back in the 1980’s. I got my first new car stereo there for like $15.

  • Gene Carey

    Mark ~ The house I listed was on Laurel Ave. and one of the siblings lived on the same street in a really nice home with an arched doorway on the driveway side. I have so many old files that I need to have shredded to protect peoples private records. Back in the 80’s a lot of information was included in mortgage and closing papers that is not displayed these days. I need to find a free commercial shredder to use since I have many boxes from over the years.

    I remember Nix’s when they used to be over in Long lake across from the train depot. I hate to say it but I was never in either store so I may have passed up some great bargains.

    I can remember going on a market analysis for a house out on a small island on the South end of Long Lake. As I recall, the only way to get to it was driving back behind the original Nix’s until you got to a bank of garages. Then you had to walk across a small walkway in order to get to the few houses on the island. It was musty smelling from being a closed up summer home and i turned the listing down for lack of interest in trying to market it.

  • Mark

    I have a very important photo of the original portion of Magee Jr High that I will email you soon. It shows the original building that was hit by a tornado in the 1920’s. It saved all the students lives and only sustained minor roof damage. Back in those days students used to go to the nearby water source which is a pond east of the school, with buckets and bring water to the school. The pond is now part of a Park District park.
    I have already given copies of these photos to the Round Lake Civic Center in RLB.

  • Mark

    No I didn’t see that they leveled the roller rink. Thats yet another piece of RL history gone away. Newer residents will never have a clue what RL used to be like. I remember Friday nights after school we used to go there. It was the 1980’s and Michael Jackson and Cindy Lauper were always playing as we socialized and hoped to meet girls.

  • Thanks for the photographs! Some of these survived into my childhood (early-90s), particularly the old Kmart, which is now Hobby Lobby and PepBoys. Kmart signage of that era is now on the edge of extinction, with only two, maybe three stores in the country still hanging on to theirs.

    OMNI I vaguely remember. It was an early no-frills hypermarket concept that Safeway killed off in the late-90s when they bought the parent company: Dominicks.

    If I recall correctly, the old Zayre building was remodeled and split into Jo-Ann Fabrics and Blockbuster, before it was demoed for the current Garden Fresh Market. Blockbuster built its freestanding store, and Jo-Ann still resides in the ex-Walgreens building.

    I thought I saw “Discount City” labelscarring on the old Walmart facade, before it was painted. That pic confirms this.

    Finally, the Jewel-Osco had to have been taken in 89-90, as the Jewel signage had just changed over (as part of their remodeling and coinciding “Take a new look at an old friend: Jewel” campaign). The Osco signs wouldn’t be updated for another couple of years or so.

    Great stuff, hope to see more of this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *