Century-old spring in Algonquin’s Towne Park to be restored

Construction for the park and mineral springs renovations to start in spring

Carl and Leona Zange at the Algonquin Centennial Celebration in 1935 (courtesy of Zange Family).

Along with the extensive Towne Park makeover in Algonquin, the park’s mineral springs also will be renovated to preserve their historical significance.

The mineral springs flow into Crystal Creek, which goes underneath Main Street into the Fox River.

The Algonquin Garden Club and the Algonquin Historic Commission secured $22,500 to fund the mineral springs restoration project, according to a news release sent Wednesday.

“We are excited about the restoration work and park construction scheduled for next year, which will enhance the beauty and historical significance of Towne Park for our residents and visitors alike,” Algonquin Village President Debby Sosine said in the release.

The Garden Club received a $10,000 grant from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and a $8,000 grant from the Schwemm Family Foundation. The Historic Commission is contributing $4,500 of its own funds to the project.

The historic Mineral Springs in Algonquin, pictured on Oct. 26, 2023, will be renovated next year.

The village estimated that the cost of the mineral springs renovations will be about $100,000, with the concrete work accounting for about $90,000 of that, Algonquin Deputy Village Manager Michael Kumbera said.

“These are community volunteers who really stepped up and contributed a significant portion to this project,” he said. “That work will live on.”

The village and historical commission have been in talks about restoration plans since at least last year. The village aims to start the project in 2024, according to the release.

Construction for Towne Park also will start next year. The park will be completely renovated with a new playground, bandshell, gazebo and picnic areas.

Estimated completion of the Towne Park and mineral springs renovations are in 2025, Kumbera said.

The village is about 75% done with the design process and estimated that the Towne Park project will cost about $4 million, Kumbera said.

The mineral springs site, located on the south banks of Crystal Creek near Jefferson Street, was first acquired by the Algonquin Women’s Club in 1916, Algonquin Historic Commission member Patricia Thompson said.

“By then, it was already important to local history,” she said. “It was the water source that the town was built around.”

At the time, there were multiple springs that were important to Native Americans, wildlife and the first non-native settlers in the area, she said.

The original circular concrete steps and bench from 1916 will be restored. The village also will preserve the encasement of the spring and fix the terrain so water drains into the creek and won’t degrade the concrete steps again, Thompson said.

“The plan is to restore the site, not to change it,” Thompson said.

The concrete steps started to significantly break down starting in 2000, when the slopes in the terrain changed, she said.

“The concrete has degraded quite a bit, but we still have enough concrete to work with,” Thompson said.

The garden club will be planting a native garden for pollinators near the springs, Algonquin Garden Club member Janice Slonke said. The garden will have a variety of perennials that will bloom throughout the seasons.

The Algonquin Garden Club is always looking for more members, Slonke said. Garden club members plant and maintain gardens throughout the village, including the riverfront and the Veterans Memorial at the Algonquin Cemetery.

“I don’t think a lot of people know what we do,” she said. “I think they assume the village does a lot of that work.”

Updates on the Towne Park project and its construction will be posted at towneparkalgonquin.org.

“We are just so grateful for these organizations,” Thompson said. “We really couldn’t do it without them.”