The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has launched a long-term plan to rehabilitate the Ben Fuller House by spending more than $20,000 on repairs to the historic structure in Oak Brook.
Commissioners in July approved a resolution to repair and maintain the district-owned house at York and Spring roads in Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve. The commitment came after an architectural and engineering firm concluded the house is in fair condition.
On Tuesday, facilities manager Jason Berger told commissioners about a 10-year plan to make improvements.
Work started in the fall with crews reinforcing several second-level floor joints and wall studs and making repairs to exterior fascia, soffit, siding and trim. In addition, crews replaced the porch roof, added gutters and repaired windows.
The price tag was $21,672.
Built between 1837 and 1840, the farmhouse was the home of Ben Fuller, one of the area's first settlers.
To save it from demolition, the house was moved in 1981 from Hinsdale to Fullersburg Woods. But shortly before the move, the summer kitchen was destroyed by fire.
Officials eventually hope the structure can be restored and used as a museum featuring history about the building. The district, however, doesn't have the money to pursue a major rehabilitation.
Berger said the 10-year plan allows work to be done in small pieces.
"We're able to push out some of these improvements (and) take advantage of using our in-house resources," he said.
The plan calls for the roof to be repaired in the next few years. Other projects include porch ceiling and decking repairs, minor tuck-pointing, and an exterior paint job.
Electrical updates and work to replace windows have been pushed back to 2020 or beyond. There are no plans to rebuild the kitchen.
In the meantime, the initial repairs will stabilize the house and ensure it can be used for "the scenic pleasure" of the community, officials said.