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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Workday Wednesday: Wonder Lake Syndicate

The 1930 United States census shows that Fritz Arthur Gilbert, the husband of my great-grandmother's sister Juliet Dahlquist, was the treasurer for a company that made artificial lakes.

1930 United States census, Chicago, Illinois, Ward 17, population schedule, enumeration district 16-647, sheet no. 4B. Available from 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.

The 1940 United States census shows that he was the treasurer for a real estate supply company.

1940 United States Census. Chicago, Illinois, Ward 17, population schedule, enumeration district 103-1148, sheet no. 2A. Available from 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

Fritz Arthur Gilbert's World War II draft registration card shows that the company he worked for was Wonder Lake Syndicate.

Draft registration card, Fritz A. Gilbert. United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration. Available from U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

The Wonder Lake Realty Trust, or Wonder Lake Syndicate, purchased farmland in McHenry County, Illinois. In 1929, a dam was built across Nippersink Creek, and the farmland was flooded to create an artificial lake. The plan was to create a recreational community patterned after Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Houses were build along the shores of the lake. The first subdivision opened in 1930. In 1934, 46 homes were built at Wonder Lake, and nearly 100 parcels of land were sold. In 1935, 95 homes were built, and 180 home sites were sold. In 1936, 75 houses were built, and 200 home sites were purchased. By 1953, 300,000 to 400,000 lots had been sold.

In 1963, the Wonder Lake Syndicate turned the lake over to the Master Property Owners Association, which represented the subdivisions of the community.

In 1968, Fritz Arthur Gilbert was vice president and treasurer of Wonder Lake Realty Trust. His death certificate (dated 4 March 1978) states that he was president of a real estate company.

True Republican, 6 November 1929, page 7. Available from Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.

View of Wonder Lake, 1930. Photo by Lester Klintworth. Available from Wonder Lake Live.

United States Census Bureau reference map of Wonder Lake (CDP), Illinois. Available from Wikimedia Commons.

Century's Turn Saw Start of Fine Lake Sites. Chicago Tribune, 30 May 1953, part 1, page 10.
Hall of Fame Cites Palatine Resident. Chicago Tribune, 5 May 1968, section 10, page 2.
A Legend Grows in Popularity
Machaj, Sandra Landen. Northeast McHenry County. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2009.
75 Homes Built So Far at Wonder Lake in 1936. Chicago Tribune, 19 July 1936, part 2, page 14.

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