A piece of Naperville history could soon be saved or left to rot. The Greene family barn was built in the 1840s and is the last standing dairy barn in DuPage County.
Bill Greene donated the barn to the DuPage Forest Preserve in 1971, hoping it would be used for education. Almost 40 years later the barn needs expensive repairs.
One supporter of these repairs is Herb Nadelhoffer, who grew up on a farm near the Greene’s.
“It’s one of the biggest barns that was in DuPage County. It’s withstood all the storms and major weather,” said Nadelhoffer.
DuPage Forest Commissioner Carl Schultz is hoping the barn will weather a different type of storm . Schultz wants the barn to not only be stabilized, but upgraded and opened to the public.
“That was the intent of Bill Greene originally, and we feel like we’d like to honor that intent,” said Schultz.
Current estimates to stabilize the barn would cost more than 1.2 million dollars. Stabilizing and updating the barn would cost nearly 4.8 million dollars.
Another supporter of the renovations says she’s watched as other barns in town have disappeared.
“The barns have been razed. They are subdivisions, golf courses, and beyond. It’s very important for us to preserve,” said Carolyn Lauing-Finzer, a Naperville resident.
At Tuesday’s plan commission meeting, the Naperville Heritage Society said their organization would be interested in partnering with the forest preserve to help save the barn.
“It would be a real shame to lose not just a physical memento and landscape, but also to be able to get inside and see how it was constructed,” said Peggy Frank, Executive Director of the Naperville Heritage Society.
As some of the original settlers, the Greene family helped Naperville grow as a community.
The DuPage Forest Plan Commission is expected to discuss the Greene Family Barn at their meeting Tuesday. Commissioner Schultz expects that engineers will be given the green light to design to stabilize the building.
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