Ela Township will host a rededication ceremony to recognize upgrades to a 149-year-old building with roots to an area settler's family in downtown Lake Zurich.
The festivities are set for 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the structure at 95 E. Main St., across from Lake Zurich village hall, that is now home to the Ela Historical Society and Museum.
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Historical Society President Harold Chisamore said the rededication and open house, complete with light refreshments, is designed to lead into the Rock the Block street party. Rock the Block will run from 5 to 11 p.m. in downtown Lake Zurich.
Completed in 1865, the former Ela Township hall is the oldest building in Lake Zurich. Township Supervisor Lucy Prouty said $125,000 to $150,000 was budgeted for the renovations that recently started on the building.
Prouty said the township received the hall from the family of its namesake and the area settler, George Ela, in the 1800s. She said documents that conveyed it to Ela Township were handwritten in German and have restrictions that would make it difficult for officials to ever get rid of the building.
"If we've got to keep it, we've got to keep it up," Prouty said Thursday.
Chisamore spoke during public comment time at this week's Lake Zurich village board session. He promoted the ceremony and touched on the old town hall's improvements. Renovations to the building will include a new roof and siding. Chisamore said broken sidewalks that funneled rainwater toward the structure's basement will be repaired.
"Fortunately, we keep all our good stuff off the floor," he said.
Back in 1865 when Ela Township government moved into the building, the supervisor was John Robertson, who also was a justice of the peace and overseer of the poor.
Robertson was highway commissioner when Peter Davidson fatally shot him in the neck over a road easement dispute Sept. 8, 1877, according to township records. Davidson was convicted of murder and served 14 years in a state prison. Ela Township government, which started in November 1849, moved its operations from the Main Street hall in 2000.
Visitors to the Sept. 13 open house will see a complete history of the building and a new "Historic Taverns, Bars and Prohibition" exhibit.
Township boundaries include Lake Zurich, Kildeer, unincorporated Forest Lake, most of Hawthorn Woods and Deer Park, and pieces of Long Grove, North Barrington and Barrington.
•Daily Herald staff writer Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.