There are several historical significant buildings at Chaplin Creek Village. In this set, you’ll see structures that have been moved to the historic site from locations as far away as Sugar Grove, IL and restored or reconstructed to a close facsimile of the original structure.
- Early Settlers Cabin
- Hedgerow Forge
- Kelley Memorial Gazebo
- Scott Barn
- Sullivan-Lindsey Saltbox House
- Village Jail
- Yorty School House
Early Settlers Cabin
Completed in 2001, members of the Historical Society decided to erect a replica of a log cabin that may have been built by early settlers in the area. Planned to be a working demonstration for the Summer Harvest Festival, a design was completed and then a limestone foundation was built using a mortar mixture that would have been typical of the time.
The next steps included cutting the trees to build the timbers from a pine plantation on a prairie hill north of town. This included hauling the timbers to the site, creating the detailed pieces using techniques from the 1800’s including hewing, notching, placing and chinking the logs and assembling them on the newly constructed foundation as found in a typical cabin of the early 19th century.
This structure represents the type of cabin that would have appeared on the prairie and in the grove along Franklin Creek in earlier times. Please stop by to see and enjoy it.
If you would care to volunteer your time in maintaining the Early Settlers Cabin or interested to provide funding to help us to support this project on an on-going basis, please write to us at [email protected].
Hedgerow Forge is an original blacksmith shop which was built in the early 1900’s in Ashton, Illinois by brothers Frank and Charles (Cuppy) Howard.
In regards to the formation of the Franklin Grove Area Historical Society in 1987, this building is of significance. It served as the first historic structure to be place at the historical site.
Donated by the then current owner, the building was disassembled, the pieces and its contents relocated to the site, reassembled and restored by several enthusiastic community members who volunteered countless hours and materials needed for the project including the foundation and concrete work.
Serving as a working blacksmith shop, today you can see blacksmiths in action during the annual Summer Harvest Festival.
If you would care to volunteer your time in maintaining Hedgerow Forge or interested to provide funding to help us to support this project on an on-going basis, please write to us at [email protected].
Kelley Memorial Gazebo
The Kelley Memorial Gazebo was constructed by members of the Historical Society to memorialize and honor the parents of one of our very active members. This structure was modeled after the gazebo at Bishop Hill, Illinois.
If you would care to volunteer your time in maintaining the Kelley Memorial Gazebo or interested to provide funding to help us to support this project on an on-going basis, please write to us at [email protected].
Prominently on display as you enter Chaplin Creek Village from Whitney Road, the Scott Barn is one of the site’s favorite exhibits. The 36 by 26 ft. barn was originally located in rural Kane County, Illinois and was given to the Franklin Grove Area Historic Society by Jim and Marian Scott.
Jim and Marian Scott’s family had lived on the farm where the barn was located since the mid-1860s. We understand the barn was originally constructed in 1855. It is an English-style structure, with a 3-bay configuration. It was used for milking cows and housing horses and had provisions for hay and grain storage. The original wooden hay track was still tightly attached to the roof structure.
In September of 1999, volunteers completely disassembled the barn, loaded it on a trailer and transported it fifty miles to Franklin Grove. For the next nine months, the post and beam structural parts, plus their bracing, were modified to correct areas that had deteriorated over the superseding 145 years.
A historically correct stone foundation was carefully laid which featured large rocks from local historic Franklin Grove structures. Sill plates along with 2 inch thick tongue-and-groove planking obtained from still other local historic structures were used to construct the barn deck platform.
During the 2000 Franklin Grove City Harvest Festival, an old-fashioned barn-raising was held. Men dressed in period clothing participated using “beetles” to help re-assemble the bents and pike poles to elevate the bents into position. Meals for the hearty crew were provided by a group of “pioneer” woman who were colorfully attired in period clothing consistent with the ambience of the event. A hand stitched quilt consisting of a large center panel honoring the Scott Barn and then surrounded by smaller patches of twenty other barn styles found in northern Illinois was beautifully displayed in a tent nearby.
Although rain showers dampened the festival grounds, it did not dampen the enthusiasm exhibited by the men and women associated with this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Over 2000 volunteer hours have been logged relative to this unique restoration project.
If you would care to volunteer your time in maintaining the Scott Barn or interested to provide funding to help us to support this project on an on-going basis, please write to us at [email protected].
Sullivan-Lindsey Saltbox House
This building was one of the few original prairie saltbox style houses remaining in Illinois. It was donated to the society by Lois Lindsey Calhoun and her brother, Richard Lindsey, both of Rockford, IL.
The term “saltbox house” comes from the characteristic shape of the dwelling, which closely resembles the old-time saltbox used by early housewives. Salt was a very precious commodity because of both its scarcity and its cost, so it was kept under lock and key. The wooden saltbox had a slanted hinged cover, which could be lifted and thrown back when salt was needed. The box was securely fastened to the wall near their fireplace or stove and was common in kitchens until the advent of the modern cupboards and counters of today’s lifestyle.
The primitive English saltbox house was commonly one room with a sleeping loft above it and a lean-to continuing the roofline in the rear; when introduced to the North American cultural, Americans simply enlarged the concept to two rooms upstairs and two downstairs plus the lean-to.
The Sullivan-Lindsey prairie saltbox house was moved from Rochelle, IL to Chaplin Creek Village in July of 1989. Since the house had originally been built in three sections, it was moved to the site in three sections.
With the timing of the Summer Harvest Festival only three weeks away, there was a lot of work to be completed following the move to the historic site. The three sections were positioned over the cement foundation which had been poured prior to the move and were connected together once positioned on the foundation. The gables were attached and work was started to replace the cedar shigled roof and compliment the foundation with a layer of the fieldstones.
The Sullivan-Lindsey Saltbox House is certainly one of the most valued treasures of the Historical Society and is a joy to tour.
During 2007, dedicated members of the Historical Society refurbished the nearby Summer Kitchen. During the 2008 Summer Harvest Festival and Autumn in the Village – Fall Festival, members of the Historical Society will demonstrate making bread in the newly restored wood-fired stove.
If you would care to volunteer your time in maintaining the Sullivan-Lindsey Saltbox House or interested to provide funding to help us to support this project on an on-going basis, please write to us at [email protected].
The Chaplin Creek Village Jail was constructed from a single car garage donated by family from the Historical Society. The garage was moved from Franklin Grove in the summer of 1998 and stored at the historical site until funding was available to complete its restoration and conversion to a building reminiscent of a village jail of the mid 1800’s.
During 2000 a stone foundation was constructed for the building and it was moved to its permanent location. The original double jail cells from Franklin Grove jailhouse were installed and a new facade was constructed by the members that year.
If you would care to volunteer your time in maintaining the Village Jail or interested to provide funding to help us to support this project on an on-going basis, please write to us at [email protected].
Yorty School House
The Yorty School House was the last remaining country school in Lafayette Township, Ogle County, when it was moved by a group of volunteers to Chaplin Creek Village in October of 1990. Ironically, the only other country school in that township still standing on its original site had burned to the ground the night before the Yorty School House move.
This was not the venerable structure’s first move. Originally built in 1893 following a disastrous fire in December of 1892 to its predecessor, it was raised on that earlier foundation with an addition at the east end for a township hall. It was originally located 2-1/2 miles north of Ashton. However, with the construction of the Lincoln Highway (now Illinois Route 38) in 1919-1920, the schoolhouse would sit too close to the new highway and was moved across the road to a more convenient location.
Dedicated June 21, 1893, the original school building was dedicated by teacher Miss Alice Billmire. It was in continuous use until 1947 when teacher Miss Carley Chapman officially closed and locked up the school, as a District 108. It was consolidated with another country school the Antioch School. Parents were very unhappy with this move because the Yorty School had inside toilets, which had been added when the school had been moved across the road; Antioch School did not.
Reopened in the early 1950’s by Community Unit School District #271, the school was taught for several years by Mrs. Elma Cultra and then was closed permanently as a schoolhouse. In 1952 the contents of Prairie Star and Yorty Schools were sold at auction. Because the school desks did not sell, they were simply abandoned outside.
Later one of the early members of the Society managed to save them by placing them back inside the building out of the weather. Some of these have been refinished by and are now on display in the relocated schoolhouse.
The school had a coal stove with a railing around it so, as a former student there, recalls, clothes could be hung on the railing to dry in winter. The remainder of the school year, coats and jackets were hung on hooks.
She remembers two pictures in particular in the schoolroom, “The Gleaners” and “Abraham Lincoln”. She also recalls that there were bookshelves, with the books for pleasure reading on the highest shelves. The drawings of horses you will see preserved on the chalkboards, were drawn by Phillips Chapman, a former school director.
Because the town hall was at the rear of the building, the schoolhouse continued in use for voting, town meetings, etc. until a new township building was constructed just to the north of the school several years ago. Since the building had stood empty for several years and was deteriorating, plans to demolish it were underway when it was donated to the Franklin Grove Area Historical Society in January, 1989, by the then current landowner. Relocation and the reconstruction of the building was completed within two years by Historical Society members.
If you would care to volunteer your time in maintaining Yorty Schoolhouse or interested to provide funding to help us to support this project on an on-going basis, please write to us at [email protected].