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posted: 7/3/2014 5:30 AM

Fourth of July open house at Barrington White House set

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  • Beth Raseman, the Barrington White House project coordinator, discusses details of the exterior of the house during a community open house at Barringtonīs White House last November.

       Beth Raseman, the Barrington White House project coordinator, discusses details of the exterior of the house during a community open house at Barringtonīs White House last November.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Those joining in Barrington's Fourth of July celebrations Friday will have the chance to tour the historic Barrington White House for one of the last times before the village renovates the building into a cultural and community center.

The 116-year-old White House at 145 W. Main St. will be open to the public after the 10 a.m. parade Friday until 3 p.m.

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Beth Raseman, the Barrington White House project coordinator, said the White House committee worked hard to get the building ready in time for the holiday.

"There will be a lot of people in town who might only be here once a year," Raseman said. "It will give them an opportunity to see the place, see the plans and even make a donation if they'd like."

Raseman said every room of the three-story house will be open. Docents will be standing by answering questions and providing information on the upcoming renovations.

Once complete, the first floor will retain its original configuration and serve as a gathering area for events or offer showrooms for artistic presentations. The second floor will house offices for local nonprofit agencies that will pay rent to the village.

The third floor will be converted to a ballroom -- its original use -- capable of hosting an event for 150 people.

The project is expected to cost at least $5 million and Raseman and others have been hard at work securing funding through grants and community donations.

Raseman said that when the renovations are completed next year, the White House will serve as the base for the village's sesquicentennial celebration. Visitors Friday are encouraged to bring items related to the history of Barrington for consideration for inclusion in the Barrington history exhibit that will be displayed in the White House next year. Raseman said documents will be scanned and objects will be photographed so visitors can take their possessions home with them.

The start date for the renovation hasn't been set. The village board is expected to vote whether to accept the financing plan when 80 percent of the project funds have been raised. Raseman declined to comment on how much money has been raised as several donation negotiations are ongoing.

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