Oswego museum to observe Historic Preservation Month with program, tours

One of the barns that will be featured during the Little White School Museum’s observance of Historic Preservation Month is this elaborate urban barn built by Oswego druggist and banker Levi Hall in 1886. The barn will be noted in the “Barning Around” program at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21.

The Little White School Museum, 72 Polk St., Oswego, will observe National Historic Preservation Month the weekend of May 21-22 with a presentation on town and country barns and tours of historic town barns in Oswego.

The observance begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21, when museum director Roger Matile presents “Barning Around Oswego and Kendall County,” a virtual tour of local barn history, from pioneer days to the glory days of barns in the early 20th century. In addition to the area’s rural barns, Matile will take a close look at some of the town barns that dot Oswego and many other Fox Valley towns. Originally built to house residents’ driving horses and even the family milk cows and chickens, most of these relics of a bygone era have been modified into garages to house automobiles.

The program also will look at some area barns that have been modified and turned into homes and even businesses, even as their obsolete country cousins are being demolished to make way for new subdivisions.

Admission is $5 a person for this program, which is aimed at those 16 and older, and is hosted by the Oswegoland Heritage Association in partnership with the Oswegoland Park District. Advance registration is urged but walk-ins the day of the program will be welcome. Register by calling 630-554-1010 or visiting the park district website, oswegolandparkdistrict.org/.

On Sunday, May 22, the heritage association’s Ted Clauser and Linda Heap Dean, assisted by museum assistant Shawna Sullivan, will present “Oswego History Tour Urban Barns.” The one-hour tours will leave the Little White School Museum at noon and at 1:30 p.m.

Many people think barns can be found only on the area’s farms. But town barns were once important to urban residents in the 19th and early 20th centuries before the advent of automobiles. Learn about the history of in-town barns while visiting the sites of several of the vintage structures still standing in and near Oswego’s historic downtown.

Both tours will begin and end at the Little White School Museum.

Advance registration with the Oswegoland Park District, $5 a person, is required for this popular program aimed at participants 16 and older by calling 630-554-1010 or visiting oswegolandparkdistrict.org/. Space is limited for this walk co-hosted by the Oswegoland Heritage Association and the park district.

The Little White School Museum was built in 1850 as a Methodist-Episcopal Church. The congregation dissolved in 1913. The Oswego School District turned the building into an elementary school in 1915. Classes were taught in the building until 1964. In 1976, the Oswegoland Heritage Association was established to save the building from demolition, restore it and open a community history museum. The museum opened in 1983, and restoration was completed in 2002. The Little White School Museum is a joint project of the heritage association and the Oswegoland Park District. For information about the museum, call 630-554-2999 or visit littlewhiteschoolmuseum.org.