Oswego’s Stephenie Todd receives posthumous award for preservation of Kendall County history

Stephenie Todd

Stephenie Todd preserved and protected Kendall County’s rich history, while bringing the past to life for local residents.

Todd help found and served on both the Kendall County and Oswego historic preservation commissions, organized the annual Oswego Cemetery Walk and coordinated programs on local history at the Little White School.

The Oswego woman was instrumental in efforts to get Yorkville’s Chapel on the Green named to the National Register of Historic Places. She also nominated several local sites to the Landmarks Illinois statewide endangered list, including the old Kendall County jail and sheriff’s residence in 2003.

When Todd died in 2016, she was working on further efforts to save the old jail building in Yorkville.

The Kendall County Historic Preservation Commission bestowed a posthumous award to Todd for a lifetime of dedication to the field of historic preservation during a recent Kendall County Board meeting.

Preservation Commission Chairman Jeff Wehrli said Todd’s knowledge of the county’s history was extensive.

“Stephenie was fun to work with,” Wehrli told the county board. “She’s the reason we know so much about our county.”

Accepting the award were Todd’s daughter Julie Rogers and son Tom Todd.

Stephenie Todd was born in Aurora in 1944, with the unique spelling of her first name honoring her father Stephen, who was serving overseas during World War II.

After marrying husband Tom Todd, the couple moved to Kendall County in 1968.

Todd served as a regional advisor to Landmarks Illinois and advised the Chicago Metropolitan Agency on Planning as part of Yorkville’s Citizens Advisory Committee.

She also served as chairwoman of the Kendall County Historic Preservation Commission and in 2016 received the Oswegoland Heritage Association’s Mary Cutter Bickford Award for excellence in preserving local history.

For the Oswego Cemetery Walk, Todd researched the lives of residents buried there, wrote scripts, worked with volunteer actors and sewed costumes.

At the Little White School in Oswego, Todd hosted events and was a key player in designing and the procedures the museum still uses to catalog and store historic relics.

Todd also worked on a historic building identification list, helped to save the Henneberry stone barn and worked to replace the headstones of Civil War veterans in the Oswego Township Cemetery.

The Kendall County Historic Preservation Commission honored the late Stephenie Todd with a lifetime achievement award at the May 16, 2023 Kendall County Board meeting. From left are County Board Chairman Matt Kellogg, Todd's daughter Julie Rogers, son Tom Todd and Preservation Commission Chairman Jeff Wehrli.