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McHenry County Local Historic Landmarks

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McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission has designated twenty-two local historic landmarks since the Commission's inception in 1991. All the landmarks designated since 1991 remain intact with the exception of one  – the Allendale Truss Bridge.  This structure was removed due to safety concerns in 2009 and replaced with a modern bridge structure.  The Commission has designated this landmark as "lost," but we still maintain the information relevant to its former landmark status.  

The Commission has jurisdiction over unincorporated areas of McHenry County; although some landmarks have been designated through intergovernmental agreements with municipalities, while a few have come under the jurisdiction of municipal historic commissions after the County had designated them. We continue to list those landmarks here with an annotation regarding the applicable status change in the listing details section. Several of McHenry County's municipalities conduct their own historic preservation programs, and the county is home to many not-for-profit historic-interest organizations. Please see the "Links" section for further information on these cities, villages, and organizations.  

Detailed information about each one will be added in the future.  

 

 Preview Landmark and Location  Brief Overview
Tryon Grove Farm Tryon Grove Farm
Hebron Township
near Greenwood

The residence of Captain Charles Hopkins Tryon until circa 1900 is an outstanding example of cross-gabled bracketed Italianate architecture. Charles Hopkins Tryon was the eldest son of Bela and Harriet Tryon who established the farmstead in 1837. Bela was the first postmaster of Hebron and Harriet named Hebron Township. The Tryon Grove Farm was the first County-designated landmark. [More...]

Powers-Walker House 

Powers-Walker historic site
Richmond Township
Glacial Park,
between Richmond and Ringwood

This pre-Civil War era farmstead currently consists of a farmhouse and a barn. The Greek-revival styled farmhouse was built circa 1854. The three-bay threshing barn is also of the pre-Civil War era. The Powers raised their family here and later the farm was sold to Samuel Walker, one of county’s original settlers. This farmstead is restored as an example of an early settler farm and is currently used for historical-educational programs by its owners, the McHenry County Conservation District.

 Allendale Steel Truss Bridge Allendale Bridge (Lost)
Greenwood Township
near Greenwood 
The Allendale steel truss bridge was a replacement bridge in 1939, being the third bridge on this site.
Its construction type is a "single span Warren steel pony truss bridge" and was constructed for a cost just over $10,000. The bridge had to be removed in 2009 by the McHenry Division of Transportation, due to structural deficiencies too costly to repair. 

 Old Greenwood School Old Greenwood School
Greenwood Township 
Village of Greenwood
Greenwood School was built in 1859 of yellow Milwaukee brick. It is a two-story Greek Revival building that had two one-room classrooms -- one on each floor. The upper room was used for the high school and lower room for the grade school. Classes met here until 1948, after which it was sold at an auction and converted into a private residence.

 John James House John James House
Greenwood Township
Village of Bull Valley 

John James arrived here from New Hampshire in 1842. He was a founding member of Greenwood's Baptist Church, and he was a township official: being the road commissioner (1850s) and the "overseer of the poor" (1860s). The 12-inch-thick, brick-walled building is considered a Georgian architectural style, incorporating also some Greek Revival  features. It may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad, by evidence of certain interior features. 

 Ostend Cemetery Ostend Cemetery
McHenry Township 
near McHenry

In 1842, Apollos Thompson came to settle in this area. He then brought his wife and children from their Ohio home. His wife, Lucinda, died in that first year prompting Thompson to set aside an acre of land for a cemetery. This cemetery was originally known as the “Thompson Burying Grounds,” but later became known as Ostend Cemetery since this area became the small town of Ostend. Other early settlers to Ostend included Sherman, Abbot, Francisco, Bassett and McCollum.

 Carr-Harrison Cemetery Carr–Harrison Cemetery
McHenry Township
Village of Ringwood

This is a double family cemetery that became one over the passing of time as the two families were eventually joined in matrimony in 1860. Joseph Carr purchased his land including the western half of this cemetery in 1837. John Harrison purchased his land including the eastern half of the cemetery in 1842. Although there were several early burials, the deeds for this cemetery were not recorded until the 1890’s. This family cemetery is still in use by both families 160 years later.

 Miller Chapel Miller Chapel
McHenry Township
near Johnsburg 

In 1863, Peter Miller died leaving his wife, Mary, to raise their six children. One summer, she knelt down in the field and asked the help of the Blessed Mother to raise her children. As thanks for keeping her family together, she promised to build a chapel. After her children were grown, this tiny Catholic chapel was built by her son, John, to fulfill her promise. The Miller family still has mass there once a year in conjunction with a family reunion. The chapel stands as it was originally built with no electricity or running water.

 Christopher / William Walkup House Christopher / William
Walkup House

Dorr Township
near Bull Valley

This house was built in 1869 on land purchased by Christopher Walkup in 1835. His son, William, built it the same year that Christopher died, so it is also commonly referred to as the William Walkup house. The square Italianate styled house was illustrated in the 1872 Plat Book of McHenry County and has been restored to much of its original appearance and grandeur.

 Ormsby-Starck House Ormsby-Starck House
Dorr Township
Village of Bull Valley

The original portion of the William and Lucia Ormsby house was built in 1861. In 1946, Philip and Elizabeth Starck purchased the house and had noted architect, John Vincent Anderson, remodel and add to the original house. The result was a 22 room, 6,500 square-foot home with added details including marble-slabbed bathrooms, a large walk-in cooler, white tiled Terra Cotta walls in the kitchen area and white oak paneled walls in the library complete with a secret closet.

 Holcombville School Holcombville School
Nunda Township
Village of Bull Valley

In 1858 one-half acre of land was purchased by the school directors from Sutherland Ingersoll for $12.25. This one-room schoolhouse was named after the Holcomb family that lived nearby (as is the local cemetery). The school closed 1946 due to consolidation. The brick building features remarkable decorative brickwork at the cornice to represent dentils and cornice returns. It has never been converted to alternate uses and is in its original condition. 

 John B Walkup House John B. Walkup House
Nunda Township
near Crystal Lake

This Greek Revival house is one of the few remaining cobblestone houses in McHenry County. The stones were brought from Lake Michigan in 1856 to build it. Architectural features include cornice returns, 6-over-6 light windows, and front door fenestration with transom and side light windows. John B. Walkup was one of the early settlers and the founder of the town of Nunda. [More...]  

 Trout Valley Stone Gate Entrance Trout Valley
Stonegate Entrance

Algonquin Township 
Village of Cary

The gate at the Stonegate Road entrance to Trout Valley, on the east side of Cary-Algonquin Road was constructed by John D. Hertz during the 1920s. He had founded the Yellow Cab Company as well as the Hertz rental car company.  The estate was named "Leona Farms" after his eldest daughter. In the 1940s the estate was sold to the Curtiss candy company and was utilized by company president Otto Schnering for a bovine breeding service and raising farm animals and trout. After his death the property was sold to developers, most of which became the Village of Trout Valley, while one-third became part of the Village of Cary.

 Trout Valley Pool Trout Valley Pool
Algonquin Township
Village of Trout Valley

The Trout Valley Pool was built in 1923 for John D. Hertz This structure is of a Roman Style, accented with stone balustrades. The later owner, Curtiss Breeding Farms, used the pool for employee and special occasions, and it has been a focal point for community social events. Over its lifespan, it has entertained the "rich and famous," and those in business, sports, entertainment, politics, and to guests from all over the country. "The Pool" today is used by Trout Valley Association families for special Holiday events and for plays put on by the residents.

 Chunn's Burying Ground /Oak Glen Cemetery Chunn's Burying Ground
Oak Glen Cemetery

Algonquin Township
Village of Fox River Grove 

Business partners,T.R. Chunn and Joshua M. Stevens, were the original settlers/owners of this property. Chunn died the day after Christmas in 1843 and was buried here, hence the name of the cemetery. His partner, Joshua Stevens also died shortly thereafter. The cemetery came back into Chunn family ownership in 1860. This cemetery has also been known as Oak Glen Cemetery named after the Oak Glen grist mill in the vicinity. Over 100 graves were located here prior to some of them being relocated to Algonquin Cemetery. Currently there are just a few headstones and several unmarked graves.

 Old Haligus School Old Haligus District 81 School
Grafton Township
near Huntley 

The Old Haligus School is the only one-room school house still standing in Grafton Township. Built in 1861, it replaced an earlier "log" school. Located about four miles northeast of the village of Huntley, the school remained in continuous operation until consolidation with the Crystal Lake district in 1946, remaining vacant until 1951 when it was sold at auction and subsequently converted into a residence. The current owners purchased it in 2009 and have continuously worked to restore the school since then.

 Huntley: Woodstock & North Sts, Woodstock and North Streets
Grafton Township
Village of Huntley 

Woodstock and North Streets in Huntley are one of the few remaining examples of brick streets containing old paving bricks in McHenry County. Woodstock Street was the main thoroughfare through Huntley, but due to the hill in the street, the bricks were necessary to be able to climb the hill with horse and wagon by the farmers bringing their milk into town for processing. This street is lined with mature trees and older grand homes. 

 Stowell-Deicke/Sun Valley Farm Stowell-Deicke Farmstead
(Sun Valley Farm) 
Grafton Township
Village of Huntley 

This farmstead was originally owned by the Stowell family, prominent in Huntley’s early development. Later it was the Cummings family. Mr. Cummings was an early Huntley mayor. Both the barn and the house are of hand-hewn timber post-and beam construction, and many early outbuildings have survived, including the silo, stone-lined well, stone smokehouse, chicken coop and the original grain/corn crib (even with it’s square nails). Later this farm became part of the collective five farms known as “Sun Valley Farms” owned by Edwin Deicke.

 Old Harmony School Old Harmony School
Coral Township
near the unincorporated town of Harmony

The Old Harmony School represents the life and early growth of rural McHenry County. The location was the site of an original wooden school house built in 1859. The building replaced the wooden one circa 1931, which was designed by Ralph Elliot Abell, son of W. W. Abell. The building is an eclectic style, composed of a mixture of older style elements that are characteristic of Colonial (Georgian) and American Federal Revival styles for public-oriented buildings, which have been miniaturized into an elementary school scale.  

 Coral Twp. Witness Tree Coral Township Witness Tree
Coral Township
near the unincorporated town of Coral
This 200-year-old tree stands as a witness to the development of McHenry County. In 1837, John Thompson and his survey crew scribed or marked this tree as a quarter section post in the original survey so that land in the area could then be legally described. This burr oak tree is specifically referred to in their 1837 field notes. Few witness trees have survived, but this tree and the surrounding area (50-foot circle) are now protected by ordinance for the future.
 Barber Cemetery Barber Cemetery
Riley Township
near the unincorporated town of Riley

Humphrey Barber came with his family to McHenry County from New York in 1851 and settled here. The first burial was in 1852. Edmund Porter, who fought in the War of 1812; and Lucius Barber, a Civil War Veteran are interred here. Barber was imprisoned in Andersonville, Georgia, where he died of consumption in 1872. His war memoirs have been published by Time-Life. After decades of neglect, local resident volunteers and family members assumed the responsibility to restore it and continue to maintain site today.

 Old Diggins School House Old Diggins School House
Seneca Township
near Marengo

Built in 1914, the Diggins School has excellent architectural integrity except that the bell-tower was removed. However, the bell is still on the property as is the original merry-go-round, teeter-totter and flagpole. It’s “hooded” front entry sets it off from the average frame school house. The school is now being used as a residence, original light fixtures, water coolers, desks and chalkboard are still in the interior of the school.

Mount Auburn Cemetery  Mount Auburn Cemetery
Dunham Township
near Harvard 

This cemetery is a tribute to the founding fathers of Harvard. The graves from the original Harvard cemetery were moved here after this cemetery was established. The landscape of this tranquil cemetery with its magnificent gardens, shrubs, trees and native prairie have become home to a multitude of birds. Central within the cemetery is a stone chapel built in 1936 with rocks contributed by the residents of Harvard.

 Frank & Louisa Newman House Newman House
Dunham Township
near Harvard

The Frank and Louisa Newman house was built of brick in 1873 in the Italianate style. Newman and his father-in-law, Washington Hammond, were both brick masons and thought to have operated a brick yard and kiln on site. The personalized imprints representing family members can still be seen in the bricks. Both men had served in the Civil War at Vicksburg. 

Rudolphus Hutchingson House  Rudolphus Hutchinson House
Chemung Township
near the unincorporated town of Big Foot 
This was started in 1838 and completed in 1840. Hutchinson came from Vermont with his new bride after his first wife had died. Here they had and raised two sons. Hutchinson was the Justice-of-the-Peace and this house also served as the courthouse, jail and stage stop. Chief Big Foot of the Pottawatomie Indians who formerly lived on the surrounding prairie, came back several times as a houseguest of Hutchinson. This brick house is of the Gothic Revival style with its steep-pitched roofs and decorative finials at the peek of each gable. It is also referred to as the house of seven gables since each finial represents one of seven zodiac signs.
 William Coventry House

William Coventry House
Chemung Township
in the City of Harvard

Coventry Farm was once crossed by Indian trails and roamed by deer and wolves.  Initially, two 40-acre homestead parcels were deeded to Franklin Smith in the 1840s. William Coventry, the former captain of a whaling ship, arrived from New York in 1844, and he had the first parts of today's house and barn built in 1855. William Coventry left for Minnesota circa 1871.  David Coventry and Ida May (Smith) were married in 1871 and lived in the house with Ida May's parents.  Around this time the house and barn were expanded.  The couple inherited half her parents' estate by 1901.  Soon thereafter, they purchased Horace Smith's share and the property became known as the David Coventry Farm.

 

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