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Early Business at Barrington Station
Perhaps the several grain shacks in this farming area before the village was started should be considered the first business for they were here when the railroad came in 1854. Their names were not recalled by the oldtimers. George Ela probably was the first to set up business here after the village was laid out. He had lived in the south end of Ela Township, named in his honor. "Squire" Ela was at one time a member of the Illinois Legislature. He moved his stock of merchandise here from what was vaguely called Long Grove, probably meaning in the west end of the grove itself and said to be on Rand Road at one of the cross roads, perhaps Cuba Road.
A Mr. Squares was an early merchant also on the north side of the track. Both Squares and Ela began in 1855. Ed Foster set up a store in small quarters on the Cuba side two years later. Foster remained for years in the community. Ela remained to take an active part until his death in 1882. He built a large store building on the site of the present Miller Oil Co. on East Main Street back of the present depot. His house attached to the rear was an ell to the east. North of the house to the street between his store and Friend's store was his yard of bushes and a well behind a picket fence. West of the store to the point of the block and back along the south side was a tight board fence with a small shed with a Norman roof at the west point used by Mr. George Sharman for his masonry tools and equipment.
J.U. Stott, who had run a store at Deer Grove till the depot was moved, came here and entered the store business on the Cook County side at the corner of Cook and South Railroad Street (Park Avenue) where the National Bank is now. David R. Richardson was there in the store business before Stott and may have sold out to him. Mr. Richardson had lived at the southwest corner of Donlea and Sutton Roads and was the father of Dr. D. Hobart Richardson. Tom Creet, who came here with the laying out of the village, said Richardson was there first, and then Stott who, like others, sold whiskey, which was a general merchandise item in country stores.
A man by the name of Moody -- there is nothing of record found who he was or where he went -- began storekeeping it is said at that corner or near it. If, as is said, he began in the Howarth Building, that building might have been the later site of Howarth's Store west of the corner or it may be that Abraham Howarth owned the store south of the corner. Howarth owned several parcels of property as an alien till he was warned, it is said, he might lose his property unless he became a naturalized citizen, which he did at once. Wherever Moody began his store, he probably was preceeded by these several others on that corner, for Moody sold out to Luke Colburn, who in turn sold out to Ansel K. Townsend. Townsend sold out to John C. Plagge, who we know, was on the site of the present National Bank. After Colburn sold out he went across the track and began store keeping in his building where the Strand Dress Shop is on the Lake County side. It was a frame store with his ell residence at the rear and to the east, with the rest of the space between him and the Lamey Building east of him as a front yard.
Garret Lageschulte bought it after Vermilya's Hotel, the Feather Renovators and Oscar Maynard moved out and revamped the building to a three story brick veneer building which became the Commercial Hotel with the Masonicm rooms on the third floor.
Ansel K. Townsend during his years of business had several partners, Seymour and Charles B. Hawley were two of them.
John C. Plagge and Garret H. Landwer began storekeeping in the Ela Building in 1878 and may have bought out Ela because Ela was 73 years old at the time and died four years later in 1882. Plagge and Landwer were there two years, then moved to the Cook County side, following Ansel K. Townsend, where the north end of the bank is now. Mr. Plagge bought that corner and was there till his death.
That old frame building purchased by Plagge stood on wooden posts in what must have been a pond or low enough place for water to run into, because water under the building froze in the winter and your author learned to skate there by sliding from post to post. Plagge occupied the main floor. Dr. C.C. Coltrin, a dentist and Bridget Lamey, a dress maker, rented rooms on the second floor in 1889. In 1893 the building was sold and moved to the east end of the triangle block northwest of it between Main and the track, occupied by George Foreman and was burned in the big fire of 1898. Mr. Plagge built his new brick store building on the site he had been occupying where he remained till he died in 1936.
While he occupied the south end of his new building, the north end became banking quarters for the Barrington Bank, later the First State Bank, until that bank moved to its new building across the street. When Plagge and others organized the National Bank in 1918 the new bank occupied the old banking quarters and subsequently took over the entire building.
Besides Ela across the track, there was Julius Kirmse, a coppersmith, who had his place of business about where Main and Railroad Streets intersect.
Mr. T. Hochkirch had a hardware store on North Railroad Street west of Kirmse. Mr. Louis F. Schroeder worked for Mr. Hochkirck and wanted to buy him out. When he refused Mr. Schroeder's offer, Schroeder went down the street west and started up a small store of his own. When Mr. Hochkirch saw that his competitor was serious and was successful at the start, he sold out to him.
L.F. Schroeder was in business at various locations in the village, eventually building a modern brick store at the southwest corner of Cook and Station Streets. He retired in 1927 and the business was continued by his sons, Henry and Ben until Ben withdrew from the firm, Henry and his son, Vernon, continued the business; another son, Edward became associated with the firm, and Vernon withdrew. Henry Schroeder died in 1959 and two years later the business was sold and discontinued. It was then 87 years old, the oldest business in Barrington.
Gottleib Heimerdinger had a house and shop on the North side of East Main Street, opposite the Ela store. Emil Schaede went to work for him in the 80's and bought him out in 1889. They were much alike, both powerful, stalwart men. A small shop had been built next door west adjoining the original home and shop and it was torn down the night of the big fire of March 23, 1890, to prevent spread of the fire. Schaede rebuilt, a larger shop, with a door connecting with the old house and shop. Schaede continued the business until the 40's, closing it after he broke his hip from a fall on the ice. The shop is now occupied by Miller's barber shop. The house and first shop was torn down and the lot is now vacant.
Farther west in the same block was the Richmond Hotel run at one time by Mrs. Bennett. West of that was the Kutta Saloon and west of that, perhaps on the corner before the fire was probably the harness shop of Fred Dohmeyer, father of Frank, as near as Frank could describe it by letter.
William Howarth began a general store in his building on Park Avenue next west of the Bank in the early days. Mrs. Ada Harnden says he was in business there in 1868 in partnership with David Richardson. For some years later he was alone in business till he sold out to an able young salesman who worked for him -- August W. Meyer. When Meyer found he could expand his business if he were in larger quarters, he built the two story brick store at the northeast corner of Main and Hough. He occupied the west two-thirds of the first floor, L.F. Schroeder occupied the east third for his hardware store, the Vermilya Hotel was upstairs with the Masonic Lodge in the northeast corner. A fire started in the Meyer store in 1898 and burned out the whole block. He rebuilt the present one story building.
When Mr. Meyer left the Howarth building on Park Avenue Sanford Peck set up store followed by Lipofsky Brothers, Charles and Sam.
Wallace W. Benedict, who had been living at that time at the southwest corner of Ela and Franklin, was using the upstairs part of the Howarth Building over the west half as a photograph gallery till about 1888 or '89 when he moved out to his new home and a separate photograph gallery at the southeast corner of Station and Hough Streets behind a white picket fence. The Standard Oil Station is there now.
The Sinnott brothers (John and Ed) built, we are told, and set up store on the southeast corner of Cook and Park Avenue. They were keen competitors of Squire George Ela across the track. If one sold whiskey at 25 cents a gallon, the other put up a big sign facing the other store showing a competitive price. John Sinnott later married Ela's daughter and built the large square house with a belvedere that stood back on the hill west of the rear of the present Rest Home on Main Street and back of the Funeral Parlor, a large lawn sloping eastward to Kilgobbin creek. It was occupied later by Mr. Farrar and later by Henry Boehmer till it was moved to West.Main Street beyond Grant Street.
The Sinnotts sold out their business and went west. Either Friend Brothers had bought it or Sodt Brothers did shortly afterward. Upstairs, the Sinnott Hall had been the scene of many a gay party and concert in those early days. Henry Sodt Sr. and Barney Sodt used the upstairs for the sale of clothing in their general merchandising, both groceries and dry goods down stairs. The back wing of the Sodt Store used by them for barrels of oil, syrup and vinegar and such, later was occupied by Burkhardt's Jewelry Store and later by Ed and Charles Thies as a barber shop. That store building, after a series of occupancies later by Peck, Comstock, Stott, Ticktin, Dan Lamey and Vern Hawley, was moved to the south end of the lot and now faces west along Station Street (it had faced north on the other corner) which move made room for the State Bank building. Sanford Peck, Robert Comstock and William Stott were in business separately in various places in the village in the 1890's.
In 1864 H. Galusha ("Luke") Willmarth set up store keeping on the spot which now is the south end of the National Bank building. Soon Leroy Powers joined him and was his partner for 14 years, later running it himself from 1881 till his death in 1906 when it was sold to Phillip Hawley who later sold to John C. Plagge, who for years had the store next north of Powers. In old pictures of that row of stores can be seen a small, narrow, shed-like building between the two stores mentioned. That lean-to was Luke Willmarth's J.P. office for years till taken over by Powers for a flourstore room. For the short time that Plagge owned the two, a door was cut into the walls and passage was had from one store building to the other. Miss Ruby Brockway clerked in Powers' store for 16 years.
Garret H. Landwer (he had begun storekeeping here with John Plagge in the Ela building), Frank Wolthausen, Charles Alberding, Fred Brommelkamp, William Hobein, and Sam. L. Landweir were merchants at different times, either with Garret Landwer or alone at the southeast corner of Cook and Station Streets in the Garret Landwer building, always with two entrances, one on Cook and one on Station.
H.C.P. Sandman came into this locality from Long Grove and ran a grain elevator which still stood till about 1888 west of where the Cook Street flag shanty was south of the track. The Plagges, John C. and Frank H. (cousins), bought it and moved it to the Shurtleff site and ran it with lumber business for years. The Plagges sold out to Fred Homuth and William Gottschalk in 1920 who, in turn, sold out to Shurtleff in 1925.
Horace Church had a grain elevator on the C. & N.W. right of way at the north end of Grove Avenue. It had a long ramp on its south side from the northwest up and on to Grove Avenue. That was to elevate the grain or dump it into the top of the grain bins. The ramp, as well as the building, got rather rickety before it was destroyed by fire, because Pingel's team of horses broke through the ramp finally with a load of grain. George Comstock was Church's partner for some time and ran it alone till he closed the business. The ramp to get the grain to the top of the building or above the top of the grain bins was replaced in other elevators by buckets on a belt which was powered by a horse on a windlass outside where the horse walked round and round in the same endless track.
A Mr. Johnson, who built the house (brick filled between the studding) at the southeast corner of Grove and Lake which was so long occupied by Barney H. Sodt, and A.K. VanGorder, who built and lived in the house at the northwest corner of Cook and Lake, ran a lumber yard where the depot now is. Johnson's team was running away one day and his partner, VanGorder, was standing in the street on a side track of the railroad watching it but not seeing a freight making a flying switch of a freight car and was run down and killed, as related by a partner.
M.B. McIntosh was a partner in that lumber business for a short time. Soon he started a lumber yard of his own which he ran for 26 years. That yard was along the north side of the railroad west of Cook Street where the Lamey lime house was later. In the 1880s he sold out the lumber business and went into the real estate business. One of his projects was the laying out of Lake Street west of Hough to the top of the hill and selling the subdivided lots on both its sides and along Lincoln Avenue. Mr. Ed. Lamey Sr. opened up a lime house there afterward, carrying paint and glass. He was a stonemason and a plasterer. His sons, Joseph D. and Miles T. later took over the business. (See story in chapter on Land Titles.)
General stores carried a few staple articles of a drug store. Parker was the earliest druggist being in the "Green House" on Station Street where the center of the Laundry is now. Mr. C. Dickinson was druggist there following him; and Parker went into his own building set well back in a cat-tail slough at the northeast corner of Main and Hough before August Meyer built there. Either before being there or after, he was in the M.B. McIntosh building on Cook Street north of Hank Abbott. Hank Abbott was druggist and jeweler for many years on Cook Street, at now No. 114 South. The Masonic Lodge held their meetings for years in his hall on the second floor.
When a number of residences were moved from the south side of East Main, Hough to Park Avenue, G.H. Lageschulte built the red brick two story business block on that corner in 1893. The west third was occupied by Waller's Drug Store, Wm. J. Cameron's Drug Store and then by Vern Hawley and later by the Public Service Company. H.D.A. Grebe used the east third for his hardware business and Mark Babcock had a bowling alley there later. The center was occupied, some of us seem to recall, by William Meyer, when he was Postmaster, later by Frank Waterman, and for a long time by Henry Butzow's bakery, confectionery and ice cream parlor.
A blacksmith shop was a real necessity in those days. A Mr. G.S. Beach had a shop on the northeast corner of Ela and East Main beside the open creek. Henry Hobein Sr., who moved from Deer Grove with the others, was at this site there just before or after him. His shop was on skids and a heavy chain was attached to the front sill in order to haul it around. Hobein's grandson, Vern Hobein, said part of it was still in existence very recently Mr. Kurtzhaltz was a blacksmith and had his shop on North Hough next to the railroad and across the street from where the freight house stood, until it was torn down in 1962.
John Hatje and George Stiefenhoefer were blacksmiths where the jewelry and baker shops are on the north side of East Main Street between Hough and the track. The firm was dissolved and Hatje started a shop in the old Friend store building where Miller Oil Co. now is. It was the only lathed and plastered blacksmith shop I have ever seen. Hatje's son William joined him and the firm became P.J. Hatje & Son. William Hatje closed the business later. Stiefenhoefer continued to operate a blacksmith shop. In about 1918 or 1919 he started to build cabs and bodies for automobile trucks and in 1920 moved to the abandoned Stevens Vacuum Husker plant on James Street, establishing the Stiefenhoefer Cab & Body Co. That building is now the core of the Barrington Press plant.
Tom Creet and his brother Jack, with their father moved their shop here from Inverness, southeast corner of Baldwin and Inverness roads, immediately after the depot was moved here and set up blacksmithing as Creet & Sons on East Station Street where the west end of the Schroeder's store building is now.
August Jahn, probably succeeding William C. Krueger, made wagons next door west of Hatje & Stiefenhoefer shop, next to August Meyer's store.
Mr. G.S. Beach at one time had a blacksmith shop on what is now Park Avenue where the East part of Groff Building is now. He sold out to Fred Freye who carried on the trade. Mr. Camm had a mill next door west where the west half of the Variety store is now. Camm ground feed and planed lumber, sawed it, or tongue and grooved it for flooring for M.B. McIntosh's lumber yard aeross the track from him. Fred Freye bought Camm out in 1884 and ran a farmer machinery sales business in a newer building on the location of the two, which building was displaced later by E.C. Groff's brick store. Camm's house was west of his mill. That would be where Charles Jahnke lived.
Ed. Wichman, who succeeded his employer Charles Zornow where the vacant lot is on No. Railroad Street across from the triangle park, finished out the last horseshoeing shop in his building on West Station Street. Frank Malone took over the shoeing business by call to the farms and Ed. Wichman Jr. took over the metal working business.
The first livery stable is claimed for Ed. Hawley, son of George C. Hawley, when he lived on Station Street in the home that was moved out to make room for Schwemm's Livery. Charles Jahnke is said by some to have begun before him at his home, southeast corner of Station and Hough. George Hansen and Henry Schroeder said that Charles Jahnke had a horse or two and rigs he rented out. A history of Cook and DuPage Counties says that M.B. McIntosh in 1857 and 1858 carried on a livery and boarding stable from his barn on Cook Street before he was in his lumber business for 26 years. Another who knew both of the first two in business says definitely that Chas. Jahnke had several rigs, horses and a three seater.
George Hansen and Ed Peters ran a livery barn where the MeLeister store is at Main and Park Avenue. Herman and John Schwemm moved the Ed. Hawley-Joe Catlow-Hy. Volker house to North Hager street and the Del. Loomis post office building into.the next block west on East Station Street and built a livery barn there, later torn down for the laundry. Charles Jahnke had his later livery east of them where Gold Star used to be.
Blair lived at the Southeast corner of Ela and Chestnut (sold it to H.C.P. Sandman) and ran a monument and marble cutting shop on the lot across Ela on Main Street where Cities Service Oil Station now is. He sold to Harvey A. Harnden who had his shop at the east end of the block between Station and Park Avenue where he burned out. Then he built a new shop at the southwest corner of Hough and Station which is now an apartment building. Mr. Harnden sold out to Mr. Hertle of Dundee.
Tom Freeman was the first undertaker recalled. His shop, with his furniture store too, was on Cook Street across from Schroeder building. He sold to Ed. Hackmeister and he to Ed. M. Blocks. Roy Willmering followed him, and with Frank Danielsen of Palatine, built the brick mortuary and funeral home on West Main Street later owned by Fairbanks and Stirlen. The original building on South Cook burned to the ground in the '50s and the site is now vacant.
Besides the hardware stores of Hochkirk and of L.F. Schroeder before mentioned, there was Ira Chase, who married Lester D. Castle's sister and was later Lieutenant Governor and Governor of the State of Indiana. His store was in a frame building before the big fire where the West end of W.N. Landwer's store was or next door East of the Grebe Hardware. Ira Chase's partner, and who succeeded him, was Albert S. Henderson who in turn sold out to H.D.A. Grebe in 1891. Grebe was burned out with that whole east end of the block and went to the Lageschulte Block on Main Street (east one-third where Howard Wenzel now is), and later went back to Park Avenue, where his sons succeeded him.
Albert T. Ulitsch's folks lived at No. 431 North Hough Street in the Clifford Stout house and ran a flax mill there.
Adam Boxberger made cigars in the old Doctor Dornbusch house which was later moved away for the east half of the Louis Miller building on E. Station Street.
The Barrington Roller Flour Mill had its beginning in the old Dutch Mill that stood south of Limits Street (Hillside) where the standpipe is now on South Hough Street. That mill was built by George Siedhoff, who was a millwright, and was operated by him and his brother-in-law, George Froelich, both being millers from Hanover, Germany. They ground flour and grain there, and had two sets of stones: one for grinding wheat and one set for grinding rye. The old Dutch wind mill and all burned down Aug. 5, 1884. Mr. Siedhoff began the building of the new flour mill on North Hough north of the C. & N.W. in 1885 for H.C.P. Sandman and Sandman's son-in-law, George Froelich, but Siedhoff left for New Salem, North Dakota, John Weslowski said. In 1894 Mr. Froelich sold his interest to Fred Sandman and the firm was known as Sandman & Son. In 1895 the mill burned and was rebuilt. There were several changes in partnership till it was owned by Fred Pomeroy and John Weslowski in 1902. Later Freund Brothers (Leo and Walter) bought the property and converted it to a major appliances, hardware and farm machinery business.
Early merchants carried liquor in their stock and some had it to drink there on the premises. J.U. Stott, say old timers, had such a store where the First National Bank is now. Sinnott brothers had large signs on two sides of the store saying "Whiskey $.25 a gallon." Ela and Friend Brothers then did the same, often competing in prices.
The liquor business has always been a bone of contention in this community and has been definitely said to be the reason why the village did not stay at Deer Grove where it began: that the owners of the bordering land would not sell for the laying out of a village wherein there was permission to allow dram shops, as confirmed by old timers and relatives of the early land owners. In 1867 the Village of Barrington went dry for two years, but the thirsty found refuge in two places: The "Rising Sun" just outside the village to the east, and the "Setting Sun" just outside the village to the west. One tavern keeper who did much for the early settlers and immigrants coming to this area was Jacob Zimmerman (1819-1901). He came from Bohemia and Germany, and, like most continental Europeans, could speak several languages. Strangers coming here who spoke a foreign tongue were sent to Jacob Zimmerman who could interpret for them and often changed their foreign money to U.S. money. Chris Breemer was another dealer, as well as later ones: H.C.P. Sandman, Wm. Mundhenke, Dobler, Paul Miller, George Foreman and Jack Forbes.
Who the earliest barbers were is not known. One authority of those days said that when a barber came to town, there was but little trade for him because most people had their hair cut at home. The local newspaper of the early eighties advertised William Grunau's barber shop where the east half of the brick building is up on East Park Avenue in the triangle block. Besides his tonsorial talent, he "kept a stock of fresh oysters, cigars and candy." A greater source of delight to youth and adult was the stock of peanuts in the shell, roasted fresh right there. Some of the bigger boys were hired by "Darby" to roast the peanuts for him. With the roaster setting on the high plank sidewalk, the boy would stand in the street and crank the roaster drum full of green peanuts, over a woodfire till they were done, while small boys stood enviously around, and men sat on a bench waiting with drooling mouths for the hot fresh peanuts. Peanut shells strew the village sidewalks then where candy wrappers and ice cream bar wrappers and sticks do now. Shaves were ten cents and hair cuts were a quarter and shops were open Sunday forenoons.
In about 1872 an advertising dodger of l0 x l3 inches was put out for circulation by a "Citizens' Committee" consisting of John O. Foster, John Sinnott, A.K. Townsend, M.B. McIntosh, and Thomas Freeman. The dodger read:
"This beautiful suburban village is located on the Wisconsin Division of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, thirty-two miles from the Court House in Chicago. No place within forty miles of the great 'Garden City' affords so many natural attractions as Barrington. It is on high and rolling ground, commanding in site, affording a complete natural drainage, adjacent to most beautiful groves skirting Fox River, Honey Lake, Grass Lake, and Spring Lake, all abounding in fish, and graced with beautiful pleasure boats.
"As a village of summer residence, where HEALTH is sought, no place in the Northwest has a superior. Of its natural advantages and beauties, those in search of homes should visit BARRINGTON before making purchases elsewhere.
"The LOCAL ADVANTAGES are already of considerable importance. It is not a 'mushroom town,' built mostly on paper, but was laid out about the time of building the railroad.
"There are SIX REGULAR TRAINS a day each way. There is a Telegraph Office and Express Agent at the depot. A daily line of stage coaches, under the care of Mr. JOSEPH HICKS, a worthy gentleman, connecting with the mail train, runs to LAKE ZURICH, WAUCONDA, and Northward. There are two large elevators, two school houses, four churches, Methodist, Baptist, Evangelical (German), and Lutheran (German). A public hall, owned by J. Sinnott & Bro., a steam Planing Mill, owned by George Camm & Co.
"The adjacent dairy farms have long been noted for an excellent quality of milk furnished to the Chicago market, commanding frequently a higher price than any other. A competent man supplies the citizens of Barrington. There are several CHEESE FACTORIES within six miles, manufacturing a superior article of this kind of food.
"Here are good advantages for capitalists to build a milk condensing establishment; a butter factory; a woolen mill; a flouring mill, or any other of the great hives of industry. Wood is plenty, and of the very best quality, ranging from four to six dollars a cord.
HOUSES AND LOTS
"A few good homes have been built for rent, and families desiring to find a healthful location, can be well accommodated here on reasonable terms.
"BEAUTIFUL LOTS are for sale on clean streets, ranging in price from one to five hundred dollars. Two good LUMBER YARDS are ready to fill any orders for building materials. A number of first class mechanics have their homes here, and receive from year to year large jobs from home and abroad. The Board of Trustees are determined to make this place one of the most attractive of any along the line of this railroad.
"The streets are broad and clean, fringed with beautiful maples, planted years ago, making a charming shady protection from the summer sun. In the vicinity are many choice farms highly improved, a few of which are for sale.
The following may be considered a Partial List of the Business Directory
Depot, Express Agent and Telegraph Operator -- J.M. Haslett
Post Master -- A.K. Townsend
Notaries Public-- Hon. Homer Willmarth, L.H. Bute, M.B. McIntosh
Justices of the Peace -- Hon. Homer Willmarth, M.B. McIntosh, C. Dunn
Attorney at Law -- Lewis H. Bute
Money and Real Estate Broker -- Hon. Homer Willmarth
Physician and Surgeon -- W.M. Burbank, M.D.
Dentist -- H.N. Lombard
Real Estate Agent (elected by the people) -- M.B. McIntosh
Merchants -- George Ela, John Sinnott & Broa.,Townsend & Seymour, Willmarth & Powers, Luke Colburn, William Howarth, U. Stott & Son, William Finkle, N. Friend, Julius Kirmse
Druggist -- S.P. Parker
Jeweler -- H.T. Abbott
Dealers in Agricultural Implements -- Church & Haslett
Wagon Makers -- J. Creet, G. Camm & Co., Beach & Jaynes, Wm. Krueger
Blacksmiths-- C.T. Blair
Lumber Yards -- M.B. McIntosh, Wm. Johnson & Co.
Harness Makers -- G.E. Heimerdinger, Chas. Neigle
Tinners -- T. Hochkirch, A.S. Henderson
Union Hotel -- Breemer
Cabinet Maker -- Gustave Meyer
Undertaker -- Thomas Freeman
Tailors -- B. Sodt, William Porter
Boot and Shoemakers -- C. Dunn, L. Meyer
Butcher -- Samuel F. Jackson
Carpenters and Joiners -- Mates and Gleason, U.R. Burlingham C. Jamison, B.H. Abbott, Oscar Lawrence, V.W. Cary, J. Marsden, F.E. Lines, J. H. Deuel
Carriage and Wagon Painters -- Thomas Creet, John Camm
House Painters -- J. J. Stebbins, Stewart Miller, Irving Miller
Livery Stables -- E.J. Hawley, J. Breemer
Masons -- Wm. G. Sharman, E. Lamey, J. Lawrence, William Rogers
Cigar Manufacture -- Adam Boxberger
Cornet Band -- Chester Dodge, Leader
Millinery and Dressmaking -- Emeline Cornwall, Mrs. S.M. Harrower, Maggie Hagerty
Photographer -- Wallace Benedict
Signs and Ornamental Painting -- Miller Brothers, John Camm
Cancer Doctor -- Peter Davison
"The above may lead business men to communicate with these in their respective occupations. Anyone desiring a home, either farm or village property, can obtain definite information from the Real Estate Agent, Mr. M.B. McIntosh, who will attend promptly to all calls or letters.
"Attorney L.H. Bute will give prompt attention to Abstracts, Mortgages, Deeds, and such work as pertain to his profession.
"Hon. Homer Willmarth has long been known as a careful and reliable Real Estate and Money Broker.
"W.M. Burbank, M.D., has been the practicing Physician in this vicinity for twenty-six years, and has enjoyed a widespread reputation.
"Old Settlers -- Several aged persons reside here who were pioneer settlers, even before the Indians had removed. When they came West, Chicago was a mere trading post; roads and bridges were not made, and railroads a fanciful dream. They have endured the hardships of a new country, and are now in easy circumstances. We cordially invite the public to examine our beautiful village and those who are about to build comfortable houses, will do well to see this location before building elsewhere."
In less than ten years the population of Barrington Station had grown so (it was said to have been about 300 in 1863) that the inhabitants began to feel the need for corporate powers separate from their township governments.
A meeting was held at the depot on November 18, 1863. J.S. Davis was chosen chairman and L.H. Bute was secretary. A vote to incorporate under the general laws of the state was taken. The result was 29 for incorporation, 4 against.
Elijah M. Haines, early Lake County historian, writing in 1877, reports that the village was organized in 1864 and the first trustees were Homer Willmarth, U.R. Burlingham, William Howarth, John Sinnott, and Gottlieb Heimerdinger. Miles T. Lamey confirmed this in a chapter on Cuba Township in Halsey's 1912 History of Lake County. Lamey was then village. president.
The new incorporation was subsequently chartered by a Special Act of the State Legislature, approved February 6, 1865, by Gov. Richard B. Oglesby, the only man to serve three times as Governor of the State.
As printed in The Private Laws of the State of Illinois, the Act reads in part as follows:
"Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That the inhabitants and residents of the towns of Barrington and Cuba, in the counties of Cook and Lake, are hereby constituted and declared a body politic and corporate, by the name and style of the President and Trustees of the town of Barrington: that the said town shall consist of, and include in its boundaries, the tracts of land known as the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 35, and the southwest quarter and the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 36, Township 43 north, Range 9 east, in the county of Lake; and the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 2, and the northwest quarter and the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 1, township 42 north, Range 9 east, all in the State of Illinois. (Note that Cook County is omitted from the description).
The minutes of the clerk further describe the one square mile included in the incorporation, and state: "The name of the corporation is Barrington."
"Barrington Station" it had been to the railroad, to the post office department, to the inhabitants and to the outside world for almost 10 years, and Barrington Station it was to remain for another 10 years.
The Act chartering the new village provided for the election of five trustees, as did the general law under which earlier action had been taken and directed that an election be held on the third Monday in March, 1865, and the third Monday in March each year thereafter.
Accordingly, on March 20, 1865, the following. were elected trustees: Homer Willmarth, M.B McIntosh, A.K. VanGorder, Oscar Lawrence and Gottleib Heimerdinger.
It might be interesting to mention a word about each of the first "village fathers." Homer Willmarth was a cotton manufacturer and hotel keeper in North Adams, Mass., coming to Barrington township in 1838. He owned and operated a big farm on Healy Road a mile west of Barrington Center, just off the present Route 63. He was a leader in township government, a Justice of the Peace for 30 years, and twice a member of the Illinois Legislature...A.R.VanGorder lived at the northwest corner of Lake and Cook Streets in what was later the Woodbridge Hawley house, and was a local lumber dealer with a Mr. Johnson on East Main Street where the depot now is...M.B. McIntosh was from Albany County, N.Y. He came to Barrington in 1857 and was in the lumber business for 26 years on the north side of the tracks, later devoting himself solely to real estate and the development of the village. He was the first Notary Public, a School Treasurer and Director, Justice of the Peace and Police Magistrate for years "from whom no judgment was ever appealed," a licensed auctioneer, a charter member and organizer of the local Baptist Church, an insurance agent, and head of the local bank of McIntosh, Sandman & Co. He owned and lived on the south half of Block 10 at the northeast corner of Lake and Cook Streets, and was engaged extensively in the bee and honey business as a side line ...Oscar Lawrence was from New York State, a farmer and carpenter...Gottleib Heimerdinger, from Germany, lived on East Main Street and was a harness maker.
Pursuant to the legislative act, which directed that the trustees elect one of their own number as president and appoint a clerk, "Homer Willmarth was chosen president and Oscar Lawrence clerk for the ensuing year." The first meeting was held at the home of Trustee VanGorder.
On March 26, 1866, the following were elected trustees; M.B. McIntosh, William Howarth, 0scar Lawrence, John Sinnot, and Gottleib Heimerdinger. M.B. McIntosh was "appointed president," and was sworn in at a meeting held at his home April 3 by Justice of the Peace Homer Willmarth. Mr. McIntosh was at one time both President of the Board of Trustees and poundmaster. The pound stood where the reservoir is now. This old pound for the detention of the wandering animal later gave way to the "tramp house" for a night's lodging for the wandering man.
Minutes of the Board of Trustees prior to 1885 are missing. A.T. Andreas, in his History of Cook County published in 1884, lists trustees elected under the Special Act of Feb. 16, 1865, after the elections of 1865 and 1866, as follows:
John W. Seymour
John W. Seymour
The Act of incorporation of Feb. 16, 1865, was amended by an Act approved March 2, 1869, giving the village government broader powers. The amendatory legislation authorized the "board of trustees of said town of Barrington" annually to levy a tax on real and personal property "not exceeding one percent." It gave them power to provide for fines not to exceed seventy-five dollars or imprisonment not to exceed twenty days for violation of ordinances; to prohibit the sale of goods on Sundays; to close saloons from 10 p.m. on Saturday to 4 a.m. on Monday; to license and tax peddlers and showmen.
Following the new constitution of 1870, the State Legislature passed a bill for the incorporation of cities and villages, approved by the governor on April 10, 1872. On December 20, 1872, a petition signed by 32 citizens was presented to the board of trustees requesting permission to vote to take advantage of the new law.
In response to the petition an election was held on January 18, 1873. Fifty-seven votes were cast on the question of organizing under the general laws of 1872, all in favor. The corporate name now became "Village of Barrington."
Elections were set for the third Tuesday in April; the board was composed of six trustees instead of five, and for the first time the clerk became an elected official.
After the organization under the general laws of 1872, trustees elected by the Village of Barrington were:
H. T. Abbott
Fred H. Frye
Fred H. Frye
Fred H. Frye
Fred H. Frye
Here began the two-year term for trustees, three to be elected annually.
Fred H. Frye
Fred H. Frye
Notes made by the author when he examined the first minutes of the board years ago, show that Fred H. Frye was appointed president in 1884, and that some of the clerks were: Leroy Lower, 1873-74; H.T. Abbott, 1875; John W. White, 1876-77-78; H.T. Abbott, 1879 into 1884; John C. Plagge was elected clerk in 1884.
The following listing is from existing village records:
1885 -- F.H. Frye, H. Meier, G. Heimerdinger, trustees; John C. Plagge, clerk, E.R. Clark, police justice. Henry Boehmer was chosen by lot for president after six tie ballots.
1886 -- L.H. Higley, J.W. Kingsley, G.H. Comstock, trustees; J.C. Plagge, clerk. J.W. Kingsley chosen president.
1887 -- H. Meier, A.S. Henderson, F.J. Buck, trustees; C.H. Austin, clerk. The trustees elected J.W. Kingsley president.
Beginning in 1888, both the president and clerk were elected by the voters, together with the three trustees.
1888 -- President, Jerome Kingsley; clerk, C.H. Austin; trustees, John C. Plagge, L.D. Castle, G.H. Comstock.
1889 -- President, E.R. Clark; clerk, Leroy Powers; police magistrate, Lewis Bute; trustees, A.S. Henderson, S.R. Kirby, H.C.P. Sandman.
1890 -- President, L.D. Castle; clerk, Frank O. Willmarth; trustees, D.A. Smith, Fred Buck, John Coltrin.
1891 -- President, E.R. Clark; clerk, F.O. Willmarth; trustees, H.C. P. Sandman, John Robertson, H.T. Abbott for full terms, P.A. Hawley to fill vacancy.
1892 -- President, E.R. Clark; clerk, Miles T. Lamey; trustees, John Collen, P.A. Hawley, C.H. Lines.
1893 -- President, E.R. Clark; clerk, Miles T. Lamey; police magistrate, L.D. Castle; trustees, H.C.P. Sandman, H. T. Abbott, John Robertson.
1894 -- President, F.E. Hawley; clerk, Miles T. Lamey; trustees, John Hatje, John Collen, William Grunau.
1895 -- President, F.E. Hawley; clerk, Miles T. Lamey; trustees, William Peters, John Robertson, F.O. Willmarth.
1896 -- President, Henry Boehmer; clerk, L.A. Powers; trustees, John Collen, William Grunau, John Hatje.
1897 -- President, Henry Boehmer; clerk, Lyman Powers; police magistrate, M. Clark McIntosh; trustees, John Robertson, William Peters, F. O. Willmarth. A. proposition to erect a new village hall lost 50 to 92.
1898 -- President, Henry Boehmer; clerk, Miles T. Lamey; trustees, Sandford Peck, D.R. Richardson, John C. Plagge.
1899 -- President, Henry Boehmer; clerk, Miles T. Lamey; trustees, William Peters, John Robertson, William Grunau.
1900 -- President, Henry Boehmer; clerk., Miles T. Lamey; trustees, John C. Plagge, Henry Donlea, F.O. Willmarth.
1901 -- President, Miles T. Lamey; clerk, Lewis H. Bennett; police magistrate, M.C. McIntosh; trustees, John Robertson, William Peters, William Grunau.
Lamey ran against Boehmer for village president in that first year of the new century, defeating him 148 to 136. Lamey served as president of the board into 1907. George W. Spunner was elected president in 1907, serving into 1909; then it was Lamey, l909 to 1915. At that time it was the practice to hold primary elections to nominate candidates, and in March, 1915, A.W. Meyer defeated Lamey for the nomination by a vote of 306 to 125. That year women voted for the first time in a village election contest.
Meyer was village president until the election of 1925. J.C. Cadwallader, 1925-33; Elden G. Gieske, 1933-35; Earl J. Hatje, 1935-49; Howard Brintlinger was elected in 1949, re-elected in 1953, and resigned December 20, 1954. Joseph W. Meehan served the balance of the fiscal year as president pro tem. Martin H. Schreiber was elected in 1955 to fill the two-year vacancy and was elected for a full term in 1957. He died in office November 22,1960. John H.D. Blanke was elected in 1961.
Village clerks since the turn of the century have been: L.H. Bennet, 1901-08; Roy C. Myers, elected 1908, resigned July 15, 1909; E.F. Kirby, appointed to fill out Myers' term; Walter Lageschulte, 1910-12; Jos. D. Robertson, 1912-1917; J.C. Cadwallader, 1917-24; J.A. McCoy, 1924-30; Arthur C. Brandt, 1930-42; Vern D. Hawley, 1942-45; Mr. Hawley died Jan. 4, 1945 and Mrs. Elizabeth Weidenbeck filled out his term; Harry Wewetzer, 1945-53; Helen Boyd, 1953-55; May Pinkerman, elected in 1955.
Among village trustees elected in the nineteenth century who served well into the twentieth century were John C. Plagge, William Peters, Henry Donlea, and J.H. Hatje.
Village records for the first two decades are missing. The following list of men who served on the village Board of Trustees since 1900 is gleaned from newspaper files and later official records, and is as complete as it was possible to make it:
They included J.F. Dockery, F.O. Willmarth, Silas Robertson, Henry J. Lageschulte, George J. Hager, F.J. Alverson, John C. Dodge, Edw. T. Martin, Herman Schwemm, A.W. Sutherland, Will Rieke, H.C. Frick, Robert Frick, Geo. W. Nightingale, G.F. Stiefenhoefer, Frank H. Plagge.
Arnold H. Sass, R.F. Kocher Sr., Sandfort E. Rieke, Foster Weigel, Elden G. Gieske, Archie Virden, D.B. Pomeroy, John J. Carroll, V.H. Schroeder, Lee S. Winegar, Earl Hatje, Norman T. Maxon, William Thorp Sr., Herman Kuhlman, J.F. Daeschler, John H.D. Blanke, J.C. Cadwallader, H.D.A. Grebe, Newton O. Plagge, Herman H. Wente, Rudolph Berg, W. Bailey Sutfin, David R. Capulli, Max J. Hembrey, John A. Graham, Arthur F. Conrad, Clyde L. Church, James H. DeBolt, Robert F. McCaw.
Present trustees are Capulli, McCaw, Dr. John M. Jackson, Robt. J. Long, Paul J. Shultz, and J. Frank Wyatt.
Names of many streets have been changed, and some streets have been closed or moved. Main Street was first called Lincoln Street, then County Line Road, then it was given the not unusual name of Main Street. Maybe the long used name "County Line" was a suggestion too helpful to the elusive culprit or harrassed debtor. Many a time a man alighting from the evening train or coming to town shopping beat a hasty retreat for the north side of the center of that street to evade the pursuing or watching constable with writ in hand.
North Avenue used to be North Hawley Street and was only 33 feet wide till Nov. 1, 1887. It was named for Austin and Zebina Hawley Jr. who owned the land on the north side and the south side respectively of Main Street from that corner east. Zebina Jr. came here in 1854, the year that cholera raged through the country, took up his claim from the government at $10 an acre for the tract from what is now the St. Paul's church to the top of the hill (Beinhoff's hill we called it). He returned to Massachusetts to see if any of his family were living, found them all right, and brought them west. His brother Austin bought from Zebina the land across the road, from Lageschulte Corner (North Ave.) to or past St. Paul's Cemetery. Old ordinance No. 13 as of Nov. 1, 1887, signed by Charles H. Austin, clerk, and J.W. Kingsley widened North Hawley Street "24 feet to make it 57 feet."
South Hawley Street, so named because of a number of Hawleys (cousins to Austin and Zebina) who once lived on that street, was renamed Lincoln Avenue.
North Hough Street was Williams Street. North Cook used to be Walnut Street, and ran north to Liberty Street only. Beyond that what is now James and Victoria Streets was either hayfield, Lambert Tasche's cow pasture, or Ed Heise's gooseberry patch.
The street parallel with and south of the depot was on May 10, 1866, named Market Street. Later it was called South Railroad Street, and now it is Park Avenue (with the park eliminated). After the house track the railroad had put in up the street south of the present track, and the old depot was taken out, and Spencer Otis' Barrington Mercantile Co. was moved from the top of the hill (to Applebee Street), the street was extended to Spring Street.
Spring Street, Felter Street, Cook Street and Hough Street ran south and ended several rods south of Russell Street. South of Russell Street was farm land until, one at a time, the streets were extended. In 1867 Felter Street, once called Alton Street and now Grove Avenue, was extended south of Russell Street to B.H. Landwer's home.
Cook Street was extended in 1892 from its stub south of Russell to Hillside, then Limits Road.
Hough Street was named for Warren Hough, who owned the farm west of that street and from the County Line Road south. His block house stood over on W. Main Street near what is now the E.J. & E. track. Quite a number around the turn of the century remember when S. Barrington Road did not come in to the village but, when Hough Street was extended south and met that road.
In 1892 Billy Spriggs' house was moved and Station Street was extended west from Hough to Dundee Avenue which was then Cemetary Avenue, and a skating spot was lost to us small boys, which was a ditch draining Willmarth's bog pasture northwest into the Kilgobbin Creek. Sometimes yet in a spring freshet that flooded spot resembles days of yore.
Applebee Street was vacated west of Harrison Street.
Chestnut Street used to continue on northwest across Cook Street to Hough Street till Abraham Howarth, it was said by those who were there at the time, wanted it to come past place farther north where Schauble's garage is now. By act of the Legislature in February, 1865, that part of Chestnut from Cook to Hough was vacated and Franklin Street was extended on west to Hough with a jog, therefore, at Cook. Thereby hangs a tale as told further in another chapter on Land Titles and Descriptions.
On June 19, 1919, representatives from twelve villages met in Catlow Hall and voted to endorse a plan to put up a November ballot for the construction of the Northwest Highway. Private funds were solicited around here, and some were very enthusiastic boosters.
In the early days when Hough Street was first laid out as the west side of the original town plat of forty acres, the street was not opened at once. William Howarth lived on the southwest corner at Main Street with a white picket fence around his house where the Pure Oil Station is now. He built his barn South of the house, where Dayton Nance real estate office was, too near to the yet unoccupied street. He had a fence across Hough Street at the Main Street corner and his barnyard was in the unopened street. The authorities were petitioned twice for him to open up the street. The first time he opened about a rod to let the little traffic trickle through. The second time the Village Board ordered him to open further or all the way. In the meantime people coming to town on that side of the street walked out around his barn. Paths and side walks f'ollowed the track and from Lincoln Avenue northward the bee line was to the spot where they walked past his barnyard. He moved the second time another rod or two, but the path and walks had been laid and the west side of Hough from Lincoln tapers off to a rod short of full width at Main Street. In October, 1947, village ordinance No. 483 widened Hough a little more for a block south of Main by the Pure Oil Co. and the owners of the property occupied by the Jewel Food Store gave up enough to widen the street about eight feet and helped to relieve that bottle neck a little. Thus, as explained by a board member in that early day, Hough Street is narrow for three blocks. People often ask why does North Hough jog to the west just north of Main Street instead of continuing straight north. We are told that it is a surveying correction. Longitudinal lines converge to the North Pole. Property lines which are directed due north would finally come closer together and not become an accurate measurement in acreage. Therefore every so often there must be a spreading or widening of the area between section lines.
One street running west veers to the south, because, it was explained by the man who laid out the street, it would therefore require the donors of the land each to give up equal parts to the new street. We are told that although it is on paper one way, it is occupied another way.
October 6, 1941, ordinance No. 418 changed First Street to Summit Street, Second Street to Division Street, Third Street to Prairie Street and Fourth Street to Highland Avenue.
On December 5, 1939, the Lions Club deeded to the village the strip of land that became Lions Drive, originally Lions Parkway, and it was accepted September 30, 1940, by village ordinance No. 307.
On June 13, 1932, the Village asked the highway authorities to hasten the extension of Route 59 north of Route 22.
For walks, there were often single planks laid end to end or there might be just a path of ashes or gravel. Old Ordinance No. 1, passed June 7, 1887, required that all sidewalks must be of pine boards one inch thick, four feet long and laid on 2 x 4 stringers well supported, and the boards, one quarter of an inch apart. (That was to let the air through between the boards and keep them from rotting.) The ordinance was signed by Charles H. Austin, Clerk, and by J.W. Kingsley, President.
By Ordinance No. 156, passed in 1907, only cement walks were permitted which were to be laid twelve inches out from the lot line. Detailed description was then given as to the cement mixture, base, top, and finish. Ordinance No. 273 said that all walks were to be five feet wide thereafter, and in some areas should be ten feet wide.
HITCHING POSTS -- By 1947 the familiar and often friendly hitching post had gone into history for on July 7 of that year, parking meters were approved by the Village Board by Ordinance No. 481.
The grade level of the railroad was used as a guide to the village street level for years, and marked by the Street Commissioner with spikes in tree trunks or lamp posts. As the railroad raised the bed with more gravel, so did the village, but it never got out of the mud until the pavement came.
County bench mark No. 31 at the top of the fire hydrant at the northeast corner of Cook and Railroad street, as reset on January 18, 1926, indicated that at that point we are 829.44 feet above sea level. The standpipe is on a 900 foot level. The septic tank is reported to be at 800 feet. The highest recorded above sea level in Cook County is quoted by the Courier Review at 910.918 feet at the east end of the north wall of the Route 63 viaduct over the E.J. & E. Ry. Thus the village at the Cook Street railroad crossing is 250 feet higher than Chicago at the old Chicago Avenue Water Tower.
DUTCH ELM DISEASE -- Trees were trimmed of branches susceptible to Dutch Elm Disease in 1957. Tree spraying for the same protection began in 1958.
The Village Clerk's records show that streets were often cluttered up with things that should have been inside of the yard. Folks had lived for the most part in the country where there was plenty of space and not confined as in a village. Boards, lumber piles, stone piles, old wagons and things of little value were about the streets. Many were content to patiently walk around them, for no one hurried at the last minute to catch one of the six daily trains to the city as they do now. Habit or carelessness played a part in the locations.
The point of the block at the southeast corner of Park and Cook was lost after many years of occupancy as a street because the original builder did not occupy all of it in front and it was forfeited to public use.
North Railroad street was laid out next to the railroad right-of-way, but vehicular traffic bound for Jacob Zimmerman's place, now the Hager Co., Inc. Cook street entrance, wore a new thoroughfare. A 16 foot strip along the railroad became private property and the accidentally relocated street was established through court action. Ed Lamey and the lumber dealers were occupying this tract. Miles T. Lamey acquired tax title, and when about to replace his father's early building with a new brick structure in 1915 to house Lamey & Co. and the Review, he ran down the heirs and secured quit claims. The triangle at North Railroad, Cook and Main streets became his property. Title was transferred to Percy Leonard, who built the garage building at the northeast corner of Cook and Railroad streets, with the restriction that it could never be used for commercial purposes. It became a triangle park, part of the downtown landscaping where the new depot was built. The garage passed into the hands of Drover's Standard Motor Company, and when streets were paved P.R. Drover deeded the triangle to the village for street widening and park purposes. After World War I the American Legion acquired a captured enemy cannon, which stood in the triangle until World War II, when it was turned in for scrap metal.
Similarly, a building on North Cook was found to be setting twenty-two feet on another property. Two others on Franklin Street were in the same status by the vacating of Chestnut street west of Cook. These, as well as the Railroad Street case, required court action to clear titles.
Also, there have been poor descriptions. For example: "Beginning at the North west corner of Ed 's barn," which barn has been gone for forty years. "Beginning at the southwest corner of 's hay stack," etc.
One flaw in the title to all property in the original 40 acres of the village was the clause in guarantee titles or policies "except a tract of about one hundred square feet more or less used as a private burying ground." Every one buying a lot wondered if that private burying ground was or had been on his property. It came to the attention of M.B. McIntosh one time late in his ninety years of life when an attorney from Palatine asked him about it. He told where the private cemetery had been and what happened: When Mr. Felter owned the original 40 acres as his farm, he had buried two members of his family back up on the hill to the south of his house. Later when Uriah Stott wanted to buy those lots but objected to the graves on the property, Mr. Felter agreed that he would sell the lots to him if Stott would buy a lot in Evergreen cemetery, and would move the remains and the head stones to that cemetery lot. M.B. McIntosh was an officer of the cemetery association and knew and heard the deal, put the story in writing in the early 1900s and, being recorded in the Cook County Recorder's office, cleared that cloud from the title. Stand in East Lake Street and look east along the north line of the street and you will see that Lake Street is ten feet narrower beyond Grove Avenue for the reason given.
One piece of property on West Lake Street is described as "thence west to the center of the Kilgobbin (which may have changed its course because of freshets) "thence south to the north side of Lake Street at a point 29 feet...from the center of the creek." Privilege of water in a pasture was worth more than a foot or two of cheap land. Therefore men bought to the center of the creek that each side might have water for cattle.
When a title of a new building on a newly purchased site was searched, it was found that an easement had been granted in the early days to a narrow strip from West Main street to the railroad for loading of cattle, which strip has not probably been so used, if ever for many years.
One old description that savors well of ancient history was that wherein property was described by metes and bounds "beginning at the witness tree, etc." The witness tree, by the time it was necessary to locate the property among its well occupied neighbors, was probably burned to ashes and the ashes growing something else less relevant.
The Chicago & North Western Railroad had its beginning when the Illinois Legislature granted, on January 10, 1836, a charter to the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, although construction was not begun until eleven years later. The road began service in 1848 on a ten mile stretch from Chicago to the Des Plaines River near Maywood, as related by the North Western Streamliner.
The Illinois and Wisconsin Railway, with a second hand engine, "The Pioneer", and its construction crew of 129 workmen, starting in 1853 from its Chicago depot on the west bank of the North Branch of the Chicago River and east of Canal Street, at Kinzie Street, arrived at Deer Grove in the fall of 1854, went on as far as Carey (now Cary) the same year and began operating that year. "Laborers were paid $1.00 a day; skilled men like good blacksmiths as much as $2.25 a day; carpenters' pay ranged from $1.50 to $1.75 a day. But eggs and bacon and butter were 6c."
The Northwestern Newsliner of November, 1953 says: "The Rock River Valley Railroad was building tracks also of a 6 foot gauge southward from Fond du Lac via Janesville and reached Sharon, Wis., at the state line. (This is now the Janesville-Watertown section of the C. & N.W. Ry.) Its Wisconsin charter had allowed it to build to the Illinois-Wisconsin line. Neither company was financially able to complete the lines it had planned. So in 1855 the two companies were consolidated under a new name, the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Railroad (that company title appeared on an old land abstract in this community) planning to extend this line through Madison to St. Paul and beyond Fond du Lac to the copper region of Lake Superior. The consolidated company quickly closed the gap between Cary and Sharon, Wis. The wide six foot gauge track was changed to the four feet, eight and one half inch in 1855. The financial panic of 1857 hit the country and the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railway fell into bankruptcy. On June 7, 1859, the Wisconsin legislature authorized the reorganization of the company under the present name of the Chicago & North Western Railway Company. In 1864 the C. & N.W. Ry. merged with the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad."
The little wooden depot that was brought from Deer Grove in 1854 and set down on the south side of the tracks was later enlarged by an addition to the west end for waiting rooms and an office in the middle. The original part at the east end became the freight and express rooms. No one remembers ever having seen it painted anything but red before the turn of the century.
The depot stood on posts and had a wide plank platform on all four sides, high enough from the ground at the west end and along the south side to be level with a wagon box. Barrington was an important shipping point before the advent of the motor truck.
Sitting on this platform, on a warm Sunday afternoon, might be seen well known townsmen, legs dangling, eating peanuts and dropping the shells, or whittling the ends of the planks, while they expounded on news of the day.
Later a "house track" was built south of the depot from a switch west of Cook street, through what was later depot park and is now the depot parking lot. The track ran about where the row of elm trees now stand.
In 1892 a double track was built through to Barrington, and, contrary to the American custom, the trains passed each other to the left instead of the right because of ability of engineers to signal each other in passing.
In 1898 the double track was extended northwest beyond Barrington. On the north side, across the track from the old depot where Johnson and VanGorder and later Sam Church had their lumber yard stood a large milk can platform along a side track where usually were parked two or three yellow milk cars. As many as three cars of cans of milk were shipped out of here every morning and the empty cans returned in the midafternoon to be carried out by industrious boys and lined up according to the farmer's name for the farmer to pick up next morning after loading his full cans into the waiting cars for shipment to Chicago.
Dairy farming in that early day was a hard life. In the sweltering heat of summer or zero cold of winter, the dairy farmer was up before daybreak to milk his herd and strain the milk into cans, washed the day before by the women on the farm; the cattle were fed, the barn cleaned, and then there was the trip to town with the load of milk.
When snow was deep on the ground a trail might be broken along the hedges that had afforded protection from drifting. When roads were impassable, fences were cut and the farmer drove across the fields; sometimes horses floundered or fell and had to be unhitched and rehitched. Eventually he reached town, clad in his bearskin or buffalohide coat and heavy felt boots, icicles hanging from his whiskers and all around his turned-up collar.
East of the depot milkcan platform was F.T. Woodding's steam can washer, patronized by all who could afford it. East of that was the old roundhouse where locomotives on the Barrington to Chicago run were quartered overnight; beyond the roundhouse, the turntable, operated many years by hand, to turn an engine around and head it back to Chicago or to switch it into a stall in the roundhouse where William Dawson Sr. readied it for the next day's run.
After the big dairy companies built processing plants at Barrington, Cary and Wauconda, milk shipping ended and the milk platform was removed. In 1915 the present brick depot was built where the platform had stood. The old depot was moved once more, this time two blocks west where it served as a freight house and office for the station agent until it was razed in 1962. The south side of the track was beautified with a park and a drive installed alongside the south platform to accommodate the growing number of commuters.
In 1926 wig-wag signals were installed and in 1958 automatic gates replaced the flagmen, and their shanties were removed.
In 1930 a main line third track from Chicago reached Barrington and facilitated moving trains north and south on the two outer tracks, and freight or fast trains on the center track.
In 1931 a village ordinance prohibited railway engines from whistling in the village except as required by state law. That irritation of whistles at night was a matter of viewpoint. By counting the toots townsfolk could tell what a certain train was doing or what was the trouble. A long continued or intermittent whistle at night meant that the engine crew had spotted a fire in the town. It was an alarm to which villagers responded.
When the roadbed was being graded, gravel trains ran day and night. How many times during the night we could hear George Schroefer's gravel train whistle for a back-up and a third run to get over the Deer Grove hill.
Bob Purcell, who lived on Main Street back of the roundhouse, and his fireman Peter Miller, next door, were an engine crew for years on the in-and-out of Barrington local trains. Purcell was running an engine at the outbreak of the Civil War, with Charles Thorp Sr. and said to his partner, "Come on, let's join up; they are calling for volunteers. We can have this war ended in three months." He "joined up," and so did Thorp, and they were in the same company until Purcell was taken prisoner.
Charles Thorp Sr. was on the road from 1858 until 1905. He used to go through here on the late afternoon "paper train" and his three grandchildren were usually down to the depot to see him. Railroading was in Thorp family blood. Charles Thorp had two sons on the road William (Billy) for 54 years and Charles Jr. for 52 years; and William's two sons -- Charles III for almost 46 years and Ellory for 49 years. Add up the years of loyalty.
Billy Thorp ran old time engine No. 400, of World's Fair vintage. For a long time he had No. 678, which his two boys used to model a locomotive built from barrels for a Fourth of July parade. Later, when he went through Barrington at night with engine No. 601 hauling train 511, and back the next morning with train 516, the whole town listened for the distinctive whistle that told his wife up on the hill that all was well, and the final "toot-toot" acknowledging her response with a flash of the back porch light, or a wave.
Wherever he went, from engine to engine, Billy Thorp took along the whistle, made specially for him by a man in Harvard, Ill., from the copper flues of an old wood burner engine. It had a tone all its own. When Thorp retired the whistle went through the hands of a few friends and when this was written, was owned by Billy Ralph on a saw mill up in Canada. Bill Thorp was chosen by his railroad twice as the engineer to pilot President Calvin Coolidge's train to the Black Hills for the President's vacation.
Barrington for many years was the terminal for commuter service on this division and there are many "old rails" of Barrington whom we have known. More of them were:
Chester Purcell, engineer, son of Bob Purcell; Ike Fox, engineer on the old wood burners; Jim Lewis, engineer who hauled Conductor Jim York's Janesville train; Engineers Fitzsimmons, Oscar Sellick, John Taylor, and William Dawson Jr.; Frank T. Seaverns, chief engineer, who was always calm and composed; John T. Carroll, for years secretary of the Brotherhood of Railroad Engineers and Firemen, who ended his long railroad career as an engineer on the North Western's famed 400 streamliners, to Minneapolis-St. Paul; Guy Dodge, the engineer who used to hustle the end of his evening run because he "could smell those hot biscuits and gravy" at home; and William Dawson Sr., with 48 years service, most of it as engine custodian at the Barrington roundhouse.
Well remembered conductors include Charles Beckwith, Carrie Kendall's first husband; Fred Buck, whose big home on Lake Street burned in 1890; Ed Shipman, who built the Aspinwall house on Lake Street; William Sellick, Henry Fox, Frank Hager, George Hodgens, Tom Rapp, the Sughru brothers, Otto Sodt, Amos Keeler, Arthur Fletcher.
Charles H. Lines was the first collector on the road. Ezra M. Cannon went to work for the North Western at the age of 15 and worked for the road all his life. He had two brothers on the road; and two sons, Ray (Bud) and William, both collectors. Pat Carney, Ray Fabritz, Frank Krahn, and Lew Collen, uncle of Preston Collen.
Joe Freeman was a baggageman, Charles Vermilya a conductor; Louis Rieck, on the freights. Bert Henderson, crippled for life in the service.
Early C. & N.W. station agents in Barrington were Mr. Ashton, Bill Morris, Jim Haslett, Ed. W. Dunton; and, from 1883 until his death in 1928, Lyman A. Powers.
It is interesting to note in passing, that, there being no other place in Barrington, besides a church, large enough for a group to assemble Bill Morris offered the depot waiting room for Justices of the Peace to hold trials, and for election purposes. It was there that the election to decide on the incorporation of Barrington was held in 1863.
Although every big snowstorm brought its grief to the road, train crew won the public's admiration for their heroic work in surmounting such difficulties. Oldtimers remember the day Tommy Dolan's train, the first one out of Barrington in the morning, burrowed into the snow beyond Arlington Heights in a cut that has since been leveled, and was stuck head-on. Snow began to drift over the engine. A crew of section men was put to work with their shovels, but it took two locomotives to drag the train out backward.
It was not uncommon for the train due here at 7 p.m., when facing a northwest gale in sub-zero weather, and unable to keep up steam, to get stalled on Deer Grove hill. They waited, then, for Tommy Dolan, piloting the 8 o'clock, to push them over the hill into Barrington.
Canadian rotary snow plows came down this far on occasion during big snows. One winter the big cut east of the village deeply filled, and it was necessary to call a rotary to the rescue. People sat on the fence by the cut and scoffed; they laughed and said it was impossible. But when the big rotary snowplow went through spewing snow to both sides, the scoffers were blown from their perches and buried beyond the fences beneath the snow.
In January of 1918, despite the fact that a "Zulu" or class "J" engine had been kept busy pushing a snowplow between Barrington and Harvard, on Friday evening train No. 504, which got this far, could not get out of Barrington because of big drifts south of here, especially in the Barrington cut. The company found board and lodging about the village for the passengers. Again a rotary snowplow came to the rescue and at 10:30 the following Sunday morning, the rotary leading, two locomotives trailing, the train went through.
A timetable of 1857 shows but two passenger trains each way, leaving Chicago at 7 a.m. and 2:05 p.m. and arriving at Barrington at 8:35 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. Trains for Chicago left Barrington at 12:25 p.m. and 8:25 p.m. arriving in Chicago at 1:55 and 10 p.m. One freight a day each way was listed. Thirty years later a local paper shows six trains a day were scheduled from here to Chicago, with the running time an hour and a half to two hours. A time card of 1895 shows nine trains out of here to Chicago and eight out of Chicago to Barrington.
In the Gay Nineties the old wooden cars still were lighted by kerosene lamps that were dim, dingy and smelly. A potbellied stove was in either end of each car, with a bin beside it for soft coal. Air brakes had not come into use on all trains, and crews still set brakes by hand from the open platforms at both ends of the car. A brakeman sometimes with a club in his hand for leverage, would set one brake, run to the next platform and set that one, then back to the first to tighten or release it a little so the train would come to a stop at the right place. Then each brake was released, as the train pulled out, and he was ready to start all over again at the next stop. When air brakes came into use one could hear the exhaust of the air like a shrill whistle a mile or more away.
In 1855 rails were of iron, and steel rails came into use by 1865, but the "Pioneer," on its first trips to the Des Plaines river ran on rails of wood capped with iron.
Engines on the first train burned wood. Cords of wood were piled at various reloading spots -- Palatine, Ridgefield, Harvard. There may have been a wood supply at Plank Road, (Jefferson Park) for at Snell's toll gate at Milwaukee Avenue, the road was bordered each side for a mile with piles of cordwood which farmers brought in to pay tolls. Isaac B. Fox, a well known Barringtonian who was an engineer on the old wood burners, had man tales to relate about delays to fire up and difficulties in keeping up steam.
The "Pioneer," the North Western's first engine, still carefully preserved, was one of those old wood burners. Made by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, it was bought second handed, and brought to Chicago by boat. The "Pioneer" had ten inch cylinders and an eighteen inch stroke, with but one pair of drive wheels which were four and one-half feet in diameter. It weighed ten tons.
As the supply of wood decreased, soft coal began to be used, and brought an increase in power, and speed. Powdered coal was tried out, blasted or blown into the fire box, but was not successful. Oil burners came into use on some through run trains, but we're not used on suburban runs so far as can be learned. So, until the diesel arrived on the scene, soft coal continued to leave its long trail of black smoke across the landscape with each passing train.
To shovel coal into one of the big hog locomotives -- tons of it on a fair trip -- was no easy task. Franklin Woodding (he was known as "Fat" in Barrington and "Joe" on the road) wore a heavy leather apron over his leg nearest the fire box as protection from the blast of heat as he swung open the firebox door. And neither that great heat nor the toil of keeping up steam on a stiff grade, reduced his weight, he said. There was some relief for the fireman when a sort of ram feed was adopted on the heavier engines.
In 1956 the North Western dieselized its entire suburban service and thirty-two new double-decked coaches were added making "the entire fleet of more than four hundred Suburban coaches and seventy locomotives by far the largest of any Chicago suburban railroad," said the North Western Newsliner of Dec. 19, 1957. And this marked the exit of an old friend, the steam locomotive, the old "iron horse," with its snorting and puffing and black smoke trailing. To many of us, the glamor and romance of the railroad seems to have ended.
The North Western has been comparatively free of bad wrecks. Here are some that will be remembered:
In the early nineties a northbound through train in the night was wrecked just west of Barrington. Its black coaches were sprawled in the field and ditch on the south side of the trucks about where the Chicago Highlands foundry was built a little later. As in other accidents that have tied up both tracks, southbound traffic was routed from Crystal Lake through Algonquin and Dundee to Elgin and to Chicago over the Galena division.
A wreck that had a tragic consequence occurred south of the depot at Arlington Heights when an evening fast train hit a load of tile being toted across the tracks at a point that was not a crossing, it was said. William Thorp, the regular engineer on that run, had laid off for the day. His substitute, Mr. McClusky, was killed.
Another sad occurrence along here was when unloading a train of gravel by a cable that pulled a plow the length of the train, the cable broke and one of the Westphal boys was killed and Gussie Blume was hurt.
A recent wreck at Bucks crossing (Hart Road) beyond the mile switch, spewed merchandise, including kegs of nails that broke open, along the tracks when a freight running out of the siding was hit by a passenger train on the main line.
A bad one was at Palatine the night of Nov. 21, 1931, when a fast train from the north was wrecked at the water tank and a village water main was broken.
The celerity with which wrecks have been cleaned up and the right-of-way cleared by the wrecking crew has not been without its fascination. When old Bucyrus stepped into the picture, broken wooden cars were quickly rolled aside and soon burned, iron rubbish was loaded on a flat car and on its way out, while men relaid the track. Cars were soon back on the track and trains allowed to go through. Frank G. Hager had charge of such a wrecking crew at one time; another was August Tessen. Their work was heroic.
The railroad, as an active place, has been of keen interest to all, and especially to the youth of the community -- a fact that has not been without its tragic moments. One such was when "Major" Sharman acquired the nickname because of the stoicism with which he endured the pain, when of a Sunday morning they held him while a doctor amputated a leg to free him from under a train. "He comported himself like a major."
There have been railroad deeds of mercy worthy of commemoration, too: as when a train was stopped in the night at a country crossing to take aboard a seriously ill woman on a cot and rush her to a hospital. Or, many years ago, backing the milk train locomotive to Harvard in 40 minutes with a dying crew member on the tender.
Clybourn was called "Junction." Jefferson Park probably was called the next station after Clybourn in the early days, "Plank Road." It was just that, too -- a toll station on the Plank Road operated by Mr. Snell, who got his toll from the farmers in the fall in cord wood, which lined Milwaukee Avenue both sides for a long way.
Edison Park was Canfield. Park Ridge was Brickton. Des Plaines was Rand, after its early landowner. Next was Dunton, also named for an early landowner; it is now Arlington Heights. After Palatine was Deer Grove, which ceased to be in 1854 when Barrington inherited its station and depot. Then was Cary, after Dan Carey, an early pioneer of that community.
The Waukegan & Southern Railroad came through Barrington one day in 1889.
The roadbed had been graded with horse-drawn wooden scrapers that held from a third to half a yard of dirt and were dumped by hand. Slow work compared to the big earthmovers of today that can pick up and haul away tons of dirt at once.
One day it was noised around that they were laying the track and school was dismissed so that all of us could cross the fields back of the cemetery, where the track was entering the area of Barrington from the south, to watch so rare a project. A freight train of work cars and equipment came down the new grade backwards, kicking out ties before it, then a rail or two as needed; the rails were spiked and bolted and the train never stopped.
That same year the tower at the North Western crossing, housing many hand levers operating signals by wire cables at a distance of as much as 300 yards, was completed and began operating. Constructed at a cost, said to have been $10,000, it is 27 feet high.
Built as an outer "Belt Line" to cross all railroads entering Chicago and transfer freight, the name of the Waukegan & Southern was changed to the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern on Jan. 9, 1891, although the nearest it ever got to Elgin was at Spaulding, 35.75 miles from Waukegan.
A passenger train on that road in this area was soon abandoned, the only passenger service being retained a train for workmen in the vicinity of Joliet. So, when a train of three cars again went through Barrington in 1957 it was an unusual sight. It turned out to be only a train for officials on an inspection tour.
Running to Barrington from the south was a hard climb up grade and around a bad curve, which necessitated help, even for a hog engine. Pushers were used, one engine tooting its signals to the other at the far end of a long freight, which made it noisy to some but interesting to others.
The old stage coach was running from Wauconda, through Lake Zurich to Barrington and back as early as 1871 by Joseph Hicks, and later for many years by Ned Duers of Wauconda. After Deurs retired it was run by Mott Ford until discontinued when the Palatine, Lake Zurich & Wauconda railroad began operating in 1912 and the stage line lost the mail contract.
On October 4, 1932, the United Motor Coach Co. of Des Plaines was granted permission to run a line of passenger buses from Chicago's old bus station at 2O East Randolph to Barrington and to Big Foot at the Wisconsin State Line. The Elgin to Evanston run followed. The motor coach line had its beginning in 1895 by Dr. E.A. Manuel with a horse and buggy livery.