Aging barns at LeRoy Oakes in St. Charles need coat of paint, some repairs
It's an iconic blast from Illinois' past, representing comfort in a rural setting that features a dairy barn and silo, a horse barn, a pioneer home and a one-room schoolhouse surrounded by acres of colorful prairie. The aging barns stand out at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, off Dean Street in St. Charles. The faded paint and aging wood help cast that historical twist to make them fit right in with the nearby 1843 Durant House Museum and 1872 Pioneer Sholes School.
The rustic charm has its aesthetic benefits, but forest preserve officials know these buildings need some work. Most significantly, the barns need a coat of red paint, repairs on rotted wood and reinforcement of the limestone foundation.
"We did some work around the foundation of the old horse barn to the north of the (larger) dairy barn and are looking into getting some costs for repairs on the bigger barn," said John Goreth, director of operations for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.
"We have to get some paint on these barns and fix areas, like where the barn meets the silo," Goreth added. "It's all certainly on our radar."
There is little doubt people love the rural scene these barns and other historic structures offer. It is not uncommon to see photographers taking wedding, family and baby photos and using the barns and other LeRoy Oakes scenery as the setting.
"A lot of people with classic cars, looking to put them up for sale, will take pictures at the barns and use them as the backdrop," Goreth said.
It would also be in keeping with rural history to paint the barns red, as farmers from yesteryear used the less expensive red paint for their structures. White paint, it turns out, had the costlier and less available white lead in it.
A couple of years ago, we also mentioned that the Pioneer Sholes School could use a coat of paint. It didn't take long for a new coat of paint, and even some new gutters to be put on the building.
Preservation Partners have taken over management of the one-room schoolhouse, which offers public tours and has long been the site of educational field trips for area students. Preservation Partners has been doing inventory work and cleaning the school with many of those sessions on hold.
Goreth knows what else has to be done fairly soon. Woodpeckers have bored big holes in the wood panels on the front of the building.
"This has been a bad year for woodpeckers, and we have to fix those holes," Goreth said. "If you put up a fake owl, the unfortunate thing is that once they get used to it, it doesn't scare them away anymore."
We're fortunate to have quite a few of these settings with LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, Garfield Farm and Corron Farm, all in the St. Charles/Campton Hills area, and the park district's Primrose Farm, as well as Peck Farm Park in Geneva.
They all remind us what life was like around here in the mid to late 1800s.
With any location dealing with buildings of historical significance, there is a need to keep them in one piece without harming the rustic charm that draws our attention.
"We're certainly trying," Goreth said.
Some Greek fare:
Those who enjoy Greek food have been quick to discover that Katerina's Greek Cuisine is operating out of the Lumes Restaurant along Fabyan Parkway in Batavia.
The Greek restaurant's website notes the food is available only for pickup or delivery from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. There is no sit-down service for Katerina's at the Lumes location.
It's yet another example of two restaurants operating out of one kitchen. In late June, we mentioned that the European DRM Deli & Café on the east side of St. Charles had expanded its menu to include a "pop-up" Mexican food restaurant in Los Amigos Taqueria.
As more restaurants try to determine how to handle the pandemic safety guidelines when the cold weather sets in, we may see more of these types of two-in-one-kitchen restaurant setups.
To help seniors:
Caroline Olinger has what she knows is a fairly ambitious goal. As manager of the Seniors Helping Seniors Fox Valley organization, she's hoping to hire as many as 10 caregivers by the end of the month.
It's become an important task since the organization merged with Elderday Center in Batavia. She's been spreading the word quickly that volunteers are needed for Elderday programs and paid caregivers for Seniors Helping Seniors.
"We are one of the few agencies that hire seniors looking for part-time work helping other seniors in the community," Olinger said. "COVID has hit both of us pretty hard regarding finding helpers," she added. "We can hire younger individuals too, but typically we desire seniors who wish to give back to seniors in need."
Those interested in a caregiver position should call (630) 937-4246 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A jack-o'-lantern walk:
Organizers are preparing for the second annual self-guided jack-o'-lantern Walk in downtown Geneva, which will occur during the popular First Friday events with merchants.
From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, participants will vote in three different categories for their favorite Jack-o'-lanterns on display in the windows of 50 downtown merchants.
A fall-themed display for family photos will be set up on the Kane County Courthouse's front lawn. An attendant will manage the proper social distancing for those desiring photos, and this will also be the location for dropping off votes.
Participants will have access to a digital map of all participating businesses. Restaurants and businesses are planning special deals for the evening.
Information and updates are available at @AutumnFestGeneva on Instagram, or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Volunteers recently pitched in to do a cleanup of the Fox River in the St. Charles area.
- Courtesy of River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles
Cleared the trash:
On a perfect day for cleaning debris from the Fox River last weekend, more than 100 volunteers from throughout the area met in St. Charles to take on that task.
It was an overwhelming success, at least in how John Rabchuk of the Fox Corridor Foundation described it.
"We collected a mountain of trash, from tires to chairs to umbrellas and plastic bottles," he said.
The St. Charles Canoe club used a park district canoe to help clean areas not accessible from land.
Rabchuk sent a special shout out to the organizing efforts of Dick Brems of the River Corridor Foundation, Dan Lobes of the Conversation Foundation and Gary Mechanic of the Friends of the Fox.
This is a great effort by those who care about the Fox River, but wouldn't it be nice if we were to report next year that the volunteers had hardly anything to clean up?
Think twice before throwing something in the river or leaving trash on the riverbanks.