We can thank Ezekial Cady and Barney Elfrink for shaping Barrington’s history. Sometime between 1853 and 1854, a civil engineer for the railroad, Robert Campbell, identified a location in Deer Grove, Ill. that would be ideal for laying out a village. A train station already existed there, and it would be a matter of purchasing tracts from the landowners to move forward. But when Campbell approached Cady and Elfrink, they refused to sell. They had nothing against a village, but they did have an issue with demon rum. A law that allowed saloons to be licensed in the new town would put the evils of liquor and the influence of “riff raff” within easy reach of the town’s youth.
Campbell went two miles farther northwest to purchase a 40-acre farm that had been owned by Benjamin Felter, a farmer who had no desire to share his land with a railroad. Bounded by Hough Street, County Line Road, a point east of Spring Street, and a line a few feet south of Russell, a village was born. This year, that village celebrates its 150th anniversary.
In anticipation of this milestone, Barrington’s Village Board of Trustees created a Sesquicentennial Committee on January 25, 2010 that consists of four work groups, one of which would concentrate on telling the history of the community. The History Work Group is made up of Barbara Benson, Patty Dowd Schmidt, Rose Faber, Curt Larsen, Peer Lykke, Laura Nadelhoffer, Dana Shadrick, and Ed Wichman.
The group faced a significant question: How to best present the history of Barrington in a way that actively involves the community in sharing the varied stories that brought the village from the Black Hawk War in 1832 all the way to the days when the Blackhawks battle on ice for the Stanley Cup.
The solution was to create a commemorative publication that would capture Barrington’s first 150 years, one that would be as valuable today as to future generations. But what would it look like? How would it be paid for? Would the history be presented in a linear fashion or more creatively? Who would write it? As additional community members joined the group to help with research and writing—Tim Dunn, Sam Oliver, Lenn Grant, Carol Beese, and Bill Hannay – the answers became clear. Commemorate history with major stories of Barrington since its inception. Write it from the hearts and minds of Barrington residents. Pay for it the old-fashioned way—in the marketplace. And create a publication that reflects the high standards both of the Village and the project’s partner, a magazine that has established itself as the mirror of the community—Quintessential Barrington.
History is our story. And those stories about Barrington will come together once again, this time, in a package as unique as the people telling them.
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Susan Delay is the associate editor for the Sesquicentennial Special Edition.
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Editor’s note: If you enjoyed this story, order your copy of Quintessential Barrington’s special edition due March 1, 2015. This special edition is the official publication for the Sesquicentennial. Order forms are available at Village Hall at 200 S. Hough St., or online at www.qbarrington.com.