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The “Buffalo House” in Lily Lake was opened by John A. and Michael L. Worts as a combination tavern and hotel in 1901. Michael L. Worts took the lead in deciding to build the tavern/hotel to supplement the family’s farm income. Lily Lake, itself, was a Chicago destination for fishermen in the 1890s. In 1897 Michael Worts married Katherine Boley, a daughter of Gottlieb and Josephine Boley.

The 1927 atlas is the first dated county land ownership atlas after the 1872, 1892, and 1908 county atlases. It is the only dated land ownership atlas MCHS has, between 1908 and 1939. Like its predecessors, the atlas contains full-page maps of each township and measures 16 x 12 inches. The legend states that the township maps show schools, churches, cemeteries, and paved roads. It does show other roads, railroads, and bodies of water. It is heavily used in property research, which represent a large share of our property research requests.

The McHenry County Historical Society also holds a collection of surveyor notebooks from the noted Tryon family of McHenry County. They consist of survey work done by three members of the Tryon family, Charles H., and his great-nephews, Charles L. and George L. Tryon.

Content: This is a fragment of a book entitled "Minutes of Surveying." The fragment starts with "Field Notes" and "Minutes" of surveying with John Brink, who has been County Surveyor for many years ... ." It's a firsthand account of what it was like to survey with John Brink. It is Oct. 1, 1879. Horatio Coe is off with Mr. Brink to survey Coon Island in Pistakee Lake. Coe learns the importance of finding "old corners" in solving disputes. It also documents the fact that Brink named Lake Geneva.

Horatio B. Coe came west from Connecticut in 1849 and taught in Geneva Lake a year. In 1864 he enlisted in the Civil War. After the war, he came to Harvard and was a principal of the Harvard public schools for 4 years. He left several times but came back to Harvard time and again. His father established Derby Academy in Connecticut and made several important surveys, among them a survey of Housatonic River for a proposed canal, presumably fostering Horatio’s interest in surveying.