Plaques Put Official Stamp on Historic Buildings

Article excerpt

Byline: Arthur Kane Daily Herald Staff Writer

Carl Kristensen took down the historic plaque that was on his business because he was afraid someone would steal it.

But he left the one on the house he owns and lives in at 400 Washington St., figuring it was far enough off the beaten path that the plaque won't be bothered

The Congregational Church of Algonquin at 109 Washington St. proudly displays its historical plaque.

"We haven't thought about" it being stolen, said The Rev. Gary Hodges, the church's senior pastor. "I guess we're just living on faith."

Twenty-five years ago all three buildings received the honor of being the first structures in McHenry County to receive historic recognition.

Gov. Richard Ogilvie came to Algonquin in 1972 during the Founder's Day summer festival to honor the three buildings.

The plaques do not give the structures protection from demolition or change, but they draw attention to the historic nature of Algonquin.

"It's purely honorary," said Nancy Fike, museum administrator for the McHenry County Historical Society. "But it makes a public statement and gives recognition that people in the area are interested in preserving historic buildings for the enjoyment of everyone."

Since then, various organizations in McHenry County have bestowed the historic recognition on approximately 110 other buildings. Only recognition by the McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission, which has put plaques on five buildings, offers some protection from demolition.

The county's first structure to receive a historic plaque now houses National Kristensen Realty at 114 S. Main St.

Kristensen owns the building and the other house recognized in the same year at 400 Washington St.

James Philp, who came to America from England in 1851, built both structures. …