A Final Look at the Whalon Lake Barn It's one of seven structures slated for removal this year, but the wood will be repurposed.

The Whalon Lake barn in Naperville is one of seven Forest Preserve District of Will County structures slated for removal this year.

The barn, which is the largest of the seven structures, had no purpose within the Forest Preserve District of Will County and would have required excessive repairs, so staff recommended it be demolished and the Board of Commissioners agreed in June.

In its 2016 annual assessment of District structures, the Forest Preserve determined the barn was in very poor condition with a cracked and sinking foundation.

Large gaps have formed in between the wood structure and the foundation.

It would have been difficult and costly for the District to use the barn because it had no utility service and it was built into the side of a hill, which would have limited accessibility and parking options, said Ralph Schultz, the District’s chief operating officer.

“When all of those factors were taken into account, it became clear that the best option was to remove the structure from the site,” Schultz said.

Lee Werner Excavating in Peotone was hired to remove the barn from the 249-acre preserve, which is located on Royce Road, west of Route 53. The preserve features an 81-acre fishing and boating lake, a dog park, two picnic shelters, and hiking and biking trails.

Materials from the barn will be salvaged before the structure is torn down.

The 2,580-square-foot timber frame barn is believed to have been constructed in the 1880s, though it was remodeled through the years.

The barn includes some unique features:

Mortise and tenon joints were used throughout its walls.

The floor in the hay loft steps up and down, a possible modification to accommodate farm machinery.

It also has a trolley system to unload hay.

An assessment of the barn from 2013 said the building was deteriorating due to water runoff from Royce Road, and gaps in the siding, which allowed exposure to insects, rodents and other pests.

The other structures scheduled for removal are: a mobile home at Hadley Valley preserve, a garage and a home at Moeller Woods, a garage and home at Riverview Farmstead Preserve, and a home that served as an office at Whalon Lake.

Photo credits: Global Aerial and Chad Merda

17540 W. Laraway Road, Joliet, IL 60433


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