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Lake County Forest Preserves | Preservation, Restoration, Education and Recreation

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Gander Mountain



Address

43419 West Wilmot Road
Antioch, IL 60002

Hours

6:30 am–sunset, daily.

Maps

Trail Map

Acreage

301 acres

Related Documents

Countywide Map and Guide

Within this preserve is Lake County's highest natural elevation. Gander Mountain tops out at 957 feet above sea level.

The site's 125-foot hill is the result of deposits left from the retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age. A challenging hike to the top along informal foot paths is paid off with a scenic view of the Fox River in the valley below.

Public parking is not available at this site. Parking along the Wilmot Road shoulder can be dangerous due to poor sight lines and fast moving traffic. Use extreme caution.

History

The highest natural elevation in Lake County is located within Gander Mountain Forest Preserve. The site was created by the retreating Laurentide glacier from the last ice age, 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. The glacier once covered five million square miles from Hudson Bay in northern Canada to New England and across the upper Midwestern states. Ice as much as a quarter-mile thick covered most of Illinois.

The glacier impacted the land around us, including the noted landmark of Gander Mountain, a kame terrace formed by melting ice at the edge of the glacier depositing sand, gravel and boulders. The site was also an oak-hickory woodland on top of the mountain and a floodplain forest at bottom. In 1836, the government land surveyor noted a Native American garden at this site.

In 1948, AT&T Communications constructed a television relay tower on Gander Mountain. AT&T’s relay towers provided a one-way television route from Chicago to Milwaukee, and U.S. long distance telephone service. The concrete towers built in Lake County (including one in Lake Zurich) resembled farm silos with their circular, tapered shape. AT&T only used this design for six of its towers, perhaps initially sympathetic to the farm country in which they were built. The Lake County towers were 101 feet tall. They had steel stairways alongside and within the silo to access the different floors. The sixth floor of each tower housed TE-1 microwave equipment. There were also antennas installed on the lower deck, one facing each direction of the route.

In 1961, an acre of land, which included the tower, was donated to us by a local developer and became the first parcel for Gander Mountain Forest Preserve. By this time, the Gander Mountain tower was no longer in use by AT&T. Ham radio operators leased the use of the tower until the late 1980s, installing their own antennas on top. From the sixth floor you could see all the way to Waukegan.

The Gander Mountain tower was demolished around 1990 for safety reasons.

Location

Public parking is not available at this site. Parking along the Wilmot Road shoulder can be dangerous due to poor sight lines and fast moving traffic. Use extreme caution.

PHOTOS

 
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