150-year-old schoolhouse moving to Hampshire
A more than 150-year-old schoolhouse in Rutland Township will be making a 13-mile trip this week to its new home in Hampshire.
The Eakin School House and Rutland Grange Hall -- a 666-square-foot Greek revival building off Big Timber Road near Route 47 across from Rutland Forest Preserve -- is considered Kane County's oldest one-room schoolhouse still standing.
It will be moving next to the future home of Resource Bank, which is opening a branch in the defunct Cardinal Bank building off Route 72 and Oak Knoll Drive in Hampshire this June.
The schoolhouse will be refurbished so it can be used for community meetings and gatherings. A breezeway will connect the bank and the schoolhouse, which will be equipped with restrooms and a kitchen, said Mary Keys, director of marketing for Resource Bank based in DeKalb.
"It needed to have purpose again," Keys said. "We are restoring, moving and maintaining it for the community. It's just an open room, which lends itself to a meeting room beautifully. Moving a building is expensive, but it is the commitment that we are making to the village of Hampshire."
Resource Bank has repurposed historical buildings at its branches in Shabbona and Genoa. The buildings are offered to the communities at no charge for civic purposes.
"We are a community bank and as such we have an obligation to do what we can for the communities in which we have our branches," Keys said.
The former Eakin schoolhouse was used by Rutland Township from 1931 to 1980 for its monthly meetings and as a polling place. In 1980, township offices moved into a larger building and the schoolhouse was sold to the Kane County Forest Preserve District for $1 in 1994, according to the Rutland Township Historical Society.
In 2003, the historical society moved into the schoolhouse, restored and preserved it for use as a museum and research center reopening it to the public in May 2004. Yet, as society membership dwindled, the group disbanded in 2013 and gave the building back to the forest preserve district, which closed it.
The forest preserve district and the village of Hampshire now have an intergovernmental agreement for the schoolhouse's use.
Workers will remove the top of the schoolhouse roof Tuesday to make it easier to transport without getting caught in overhead power lines. Portions of Big Timber Road, Route 47, and other streets along the route will be closed Wednesday during the move, Keys said.