Carol Stream's historic farmhouse could get exterior facelift

  • Carol Stream officials are planning renovations on the village-owned historic farmhouse near Lies Road and Idaho Street.

      Carol Stream officials are planning renovations on the village-owned historic farmhouse near Lies Road and Idaho Street. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted2/16/2016 5:17 AM

Carol Stream's historic farmhouse stands out among its neighbors.

Bordered by houses and a park, visitors can step onto a charming front porch and turn back the clock to the area's rural roots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But it's also hard to ignore a facade that has "continued to deteriorate," says Carole Ellermeier, president of the Carol Stream Historical Society, which houses its archives in the farmhouse at 301 W. Lies Road.

The village has been planning exterior improvements, and on Tuesday night, trustees will decide whether to award a $58,637 contract to Joliet-based DuPree Construction Co. to complete the work.

"We're hopeful that the updates will maintain, at least aesthetically, the architectural integrity of the house," Ellermeier said. "As an older structure, vintage homes have a particular aesthetic that is part of their appeal and part of the history of our area, and the historical society is very hopeful that some of it can be maintained."

The proposed project includes:

• Installing vinyl siding, designed to closely match the existing wood, clapboard siding.

• Replacing single-pane windows with energy-efficient vinyl windows.

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• Replacing window trim.

The village last spring froze roughly $1.4 million in expenses -- including the funds for the farmhouse project -- in the wake of a proposal by Gov. Bruce Rauner to cut what towns receive from the state income tax. Those revenues, though, have been paid out during the budget deadlock.

Then in November, trustees agreed to release the money for the farmhouse project and roughly $600,000 in other frozen funds. Village officials have said the upgrades could begin this spring.

Ellermeier hopes new siding and windows will mean less maintenance and savings on utility costs, but preserving some of the ornamental features "may be difficult." While the farmhouse has avoided water damage, the existing windows "are in very bad condition," she said.

The village's historic farmhouse dates to the 1860s and houses the historical society's archives.
  The village's historic farmhouse dates to the 1860s and houses the historical society's archives. - Bev Horne | Staff Photographer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It takes more energy to heat the home and keep it in good repair on the inside," she said.

The Italianate-style farmhouse was built in the 1860s and later owned by the Hartsing family. In the 1990s, a housing developer who bought the Hartsing farm turned over the two-story building and about an acre of land to the village.

Since then, renovations have focused largely on the roof and interior, where visitors will see a hodgepodge of architectural styles.

The kitchen has metal cabinets and a 1950s vibe, paying homage to an era when the surrounding land was used as a dairy farm and the village was incorporated. The dining room, by contrast, was made to look like the 1860s, with replica gas lights and wallpaper. Upstairs, the wood floors are original to the farmhouse.

Its tenants have been just as varied.

When the Aldrin Community Center was torn down as part of a project to ease flooding around Armstrong Park, the park district temporarily moved its administrative offices into the farmhouse.

Today, it houses the historical society's growing archives and special exhibits. The volunteer-run group will host an afternoon tea and wear vintage hats at the farmhouse April 17.

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