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posted: 4/23/2013 1:37 PM

Preserving a piece of Lake in the Hills history

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  • The historic Ford School was saved from demolition and moved to a new location in Lake in the Hills, thanks to the efforts of Bob Spooner.

    The historic Ford School was saved from demolition and moved to a new location in Lake in the Hills, thanks to the efforts of Bob Spooner.
    Courtesy Signal Hill Chapter, NSDAR

  • Bob Spooner

    Bob Spooner

Signal Hill Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Quite often it's out with the old and in with the new, but in the case of a one-room schoolhouse in Lake in the Hills, it was one man's mission to save the old for a new purpose while preserving the past.

Bob Spooner, a Lake in the Hills resident, and his wife "adopted" the Ford School after learning it was scheduled for demolition. A retired US Naval Academy math instructor, former village trustee and full-time volunteer and president of the Lake in the Hills Historical Society, Bob and his wife, Arden, pursued ways to save and move the Ford School back to its original location, just three blocks away.

Using their personal influence to appeal to politicians, utilities, local merchants and Lake in the Hills citizens, the 1886 school house was successfully moved and restored last summer and will soon serve the Lake in the Hills community as a museum.

Spooner's efforts got the attention of the Signal Hill Chapter, National Society of the Daughter of the American Revolution members Deborah Edlund and Joyce Wright, both of Lake in the Hills, who wrote personal recommendations to the NSDAR Historic Preservation Committee detailing Spooner's dedication to preserving a piece of local history.

An important part of the NSDAR's mission, the Historic Preservation Recognition Award, is designed to honor local individuals and groups for outstanding achievements in all areas of historic preservation including such things as historical properties and buildings, cemeteries, statues, oral histories, photographic collections, archival materials and genealogical records, just to name a few.

"I have personally observed and participated with this tireless volunteer," remarked Deborah Edlund, Signal Hill Chapter Treasurer, "Clearly a labor of love, Bob Spooner was there -- rain or shine -- directing and working on the restoration of Ford School."

Lake in the Hills trustee Stephen Harlfinger also recommended Spooner to the National Historic Preservation Committee noting that, "His efforts, along with the other members of the Lake in the Hills Historical Society have helped us recently obtain a small, but important piece of our village history."

The NSDAR Historic Preservation Committee agreed, and Spooner was presented with a certificate and a pin at the March 3 Signal Hill Chapter meeting, held at the American Legion in Lake Zurich.

"During his time working on the school project, Bob consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and a dedication to success. He was extraordinarily helpful in all parts of getting this project to completion," said Signal Hill Chapter member Joyce Wright, "His efforts will make a difference in preserving the history of Lake in the Hills."