With demolition looming, Mundelein's old village hall turns 90
As it sits unused, waiting for demolition and site redevelopment, Mundelein's old village hall will turn 90 this summer.
But the Mundelein Historical Commission isn't going to let the anniversary pass -- or let the building be knocked down -- without a party.
The volunteer group will hold a public celebration July 2 at the old hall, 440 E. Hawley St. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Local historian Shawn Killackey will give a speech about the former hall's origins, and people will be able to walk through the building's first floor one final time.
Attendees will recreate a photograph taken on the dedication date, too.
Additionally, the building's original dedication plaque will be removed and given to the historical commission for preservation.
"It's the last spotlight moment for the building that has come to represent the Village of Mundelein," said Killackey, who's also a Fremont School District 79 board member.
Food and drinks will be supplied by Luke's of Mundelein.
The alpine-style village hall gave Hawley Street and the greater downtown area a bit of architectural style.
It opened in July 1929 as a village hall and fire station. Through the years, it also was used as a municipal jail and a community center.
The 8,500-square-foot building has an odd interior layout and significant accessibility issues. Those factors and a need for more space led to the construction of a new village hall at 300 Plaza Circle in 2014.
Officials sought redevelopment options for the old hall in an effort to save the building, but nothing realistic -- or affordable -- surfaced.
"It was just too expensive to save," Killackey said.
A developer has proposed razing the building and constructing a two-story office and retail building on the site. Although the proposal has been favorably received by the village board, architectural plans haven't yet been approved, nor has a timeline been finalized.
With redevelopment looming and the 90th anniversary approaching, Killackey thought the time was right for the building to "get its 15 minutes of fame" before it disappears.
"It won't make it until its 100 anniversary," Killackey said. "I guess this is a celebration and also a goodbye."
Mayor Steve Lentz said the old hall has been "a huge part of Mundelein's downtown landscape."
"We will certainly miss it," he said.