History in the making: 1800s Long Grove barn, school could move to new location

For years, Long Grove area third-graders would travel back in time while visiting the old Ruth Barn and Archer School.

Curriculum changes ended those school trips in the mid-2010s, and now the structures next to Village Hall stand in relative obscurity. But a need to upgrade the village headquarters could bring the two buildings from the 1800s back into the spotlight - if funding comes through to move them and create a historical campus.

Officials say the move would allow space to expand village hall while drawing more visitors to Long Grove's downtown.

Long Grove Village Hall dates back to the 1970s. The school and barn were moved to the village hall from their original locations to make way for development in 1977 and 1980, respectively.

Now "we're running out of space," Village President Bill Jacob said, adding a planned village hall expansion will provide a new meeting space and more offices.

But the Ruth Barn, built by the first farming family in Long Grove, is in the way.

When the need to move the barn become known, "the historical society said, 'hey let's move it to our property,' which is in the downtown, and it will make it more accessible to those that want to look at it," Jacob explained.

And - if the barn is moved to the Long Grove Historical Society's property on Old McHenry Road, which includes an 1860s-era farmhouse - why not also relocate the one-room schoolhouse to create a historical campus, civic leaders are thinking.

"We're super-excited" about the prospect of three unique buildings from the 1800s nesting in one space, the society's historian Aaron Underwood said.

"We do periodic open houses of the farmhouse we have on that property. Having the barn and schoolhouse there would open up so much more visibility. We feel like it's a critical mass issue."

But there are logistical and financial challenges.

For starters, moving the structures will cost thousands. Another issue is the buildings would be traveling under ComEd overhead power distribution lines, and the utility has indicated accommodating safety requirements during transport will be costly.

But the village is offering to provide $50,000, which reflects costs it would have undertaken to move the barn anyway. Local organizations also are pledging support, and the historical society is hopeful a state grant application will come through.

Ultimately, if the funding's not there, the society could just move the barn.

But "we're thinking strategically, if we're going to do this and do it right, we've got to move the schoolhouse too," Underwood said.

Anyone seeking to contribute skills, resources, dollars or know-how about moving tall structures under electrical wires safely can contact

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  The Archer School is located at the village hall campus in Long Grove. Plans are being formed to move the schoolhouse as well as the Ruth Barn to create a historical campus setting downtown. Brian Hill/
In 2014, many local third-graders would travel to see a historical barn and school in Long Grove. Village officials like former Mayor Angie Underwood and former Park District Chair Lee Bassett would give tours. Courtesy of Aaron Underwood
The historical Ruth Barn is moved to a new home behind the Long Grove Village Hall in 1980. The barn may move again to allow for the village hall to be expanded. Courtesy of Aaron Underwood
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