Old house could become landmark
By Lisa Smith
Daily Herald Staff Writer

An 160-year-old house built by an early Kane County settler could be designated a historic landmark under a proposal unveiled Tuesday.

The so-called Read House on Beith Road in Virgil Township near Maple Park is an excellent example of a federal-style house, county preservation planner Julia Thavong told the county board’s development committee.

Early settler and farmer Otho Read built the two-story brick house in 1847. He later served a 50-year stint as the Virgil Township’s first treasurer and several terms as township supervisor.

The home is one of only 12 brick federal-style homes in the county, two of which are in Virgil Township. It exemplifies local rural middle class domestic architecture of that period, according to a four-page county report on the building.

The current owners plan to remove a chimney and small room addition that are not original to the house, Thavong said.

It is structurally stable, with a foundation made of rough-cut limestone typical of the federal style.

The county’s historic preservation commission and the development committee recommended the county board designate the property as a landmark, which the board will consider Aug. 8. If approved, the home would be the county’s 38th individual landmark.

Designated landmarks receive plaques indicating them as such and listing the building’s date. Landmarks cannot be significantly altered without permission from the county’s historic preservation commission.

The board’s development committee also reviewed a plan to establish 20 acres of wetlands at the Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Blackberry Township near Elburn.

The 582-acre property, located on Hughes Road a mile west of Fabyan Parkway, already features 10 acres of wetlands that drain into the Mill Creek and Blackberry Creek watersheds.

County officials will work with local Boy Scouts to seed and plant the wetland area.

Officials said they expect to spend $150,000 on the project. The funds are part of a developer donation.