Designated as a Historic Landmark by the McHenry County Board February 3, 2015.
The McHenry County Historic Commission, McHenry County Board and McHenry County Conservation District will officially mark the historic significance of the Powers-Walker homestead, an 1854 Greek Revival-style home that has undergone countless volunteer hours of restoration and has hosted numerous open houses and special events over the past 15 years, located within Glacial Park.
Located in Glacial Park Conservation Area, the Powers-Walker House is a rich educational and historical resource that is open for special events and programs throughout the year. By participating in these events, visitors gain insight to the early settlers’ connection to the land. Annual events include the Ice Cream Social of 1858, Archeological Awareness and the Harvest Gathering of 1858.
The Powers family first built their frame house, a Greek-Revival style home, in 1854. After the Powers family moved on, Samuel Walker, a prominent local citizen, purchased the farm. In the late 1990’s, the District and McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission determined that the house still contained a significant portion of architectural integrity, unaltered over 140 years of use. An active volunteer group is working to restore and refurbish the home’s interior and exterior historic appearance.
In 1845, Elon and Mary Powers brought their family of five children from out east to settle in this new land. With no roads into the property, they chose to site their house near the spring (located just to the east of the house) in order to be near a water source. Presumably they started out in a log cabin but as their family grew to eight children (Esther, George, Mary, Jane, Nancy, Roena, Isabelle and Francis), the Powers needed a bigger house. It was in 1854 that they built their first frame house, a proud Greek Revival-styled home.
The Powers’ nearest neighbor was Samuel Walker, a very wealthy and influential man who settled in the valley in 1836. Walker owned much of what is now Glacial Park, including the valley to the north and west of the Powers-Walker House. Archival research revealed that Walker eventually owned over two dozen farms in the area, including the Powers farm after the family moved in 1863.
The Greek Revival farmhouse was slated for demolition in 1996. However, Conservation District staff began an evaluation of the structure which prompted further investigation by the McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission. It was determined that the structure still contained a significant portion of its architectural integrity, unaltered by over 140 years of use. In addition to its age and condition, the home was also a significant example of rural Greek Revival architecture. The combination of these findings and the fact that it was once owned by a prominent local citizen, led to the formation of a District sponsored volunteer group that began restoring the Powers-Walker house to its original condition.
Physical restoration work began on the Powers-Walker House in 1998 after a year of demolition work which removed any modern features. Since that time, dedicated volunteers have completed the restoration of the house’s outer facade, while continuing to enhance the interior’s historic appearance. The restoration work is completed in phases, allowing particular care to be given to historic accuracy and craftsmanship.
A Rich Resource
Today, the Powers-Walker House hosts numerous unique public programs and events, while also serving as a rich resource for research. Organizations such as the Sauk Trail Archaeology Group have unearthed a wealth of artifacts during their excavations of the house’s surrounding grounds.
Located in Glacial Park
Route 31 & Harts Road, Ringwood
Ph (815) 678.4532
N42°25.536; W88°19.019; WGS84
Open only during special events or programs
Visit the Special Events or Public Programs pages
2017 SPECIAL EVENTS
Living History Open House: Civil War
Sun. 4/23, Noon–4 p.m.
“A Coin for Miss Rowena”
book signing and reading
Thurs. 4/30, 3-4:30 p.m.
Living History Open House: Western expansion
Sun., 5/21, Noon–4 p.m.
Ice Cream Social of 1858
Sun., 6/11, Noon–4 p.m.
Living History Open House: World War I
Sun., 7/16, Noon–4 p.m.
Living History Open House: World War II
Sun., 8/13, Noon–4 p.m.
Sun., 9/17, Noon–4 p.m.
Living History Open House: Twilight
Fri., 10/6, 5–8:00 p.m.
Harvest Gathering of 1858
Sun., 11/5, Noon–4 p.m.
Sat., 12/16, Noon–4 p.m.
2017 DROP-IN BIRDING PROGRAMS *
Watch Out for Waterfowl
Sat. 4/8, 8-10:30 a.m.
Wed. 4/19, 6–8:30 p.m.
Sat. 5/13, 8–10:30 a.m.
Prairie Path Prowl
Thurs., 5/18, 6–8:30 p.m.
Wed., 6/14, 6–8:30 p.m.
Migratory Madness Morning
Sat., 9/9, 8–10:30 a.m.
Migratory Madness Evening
Wed., 9/13, 6–8 p.m.
Summer Drop in Tours
Select weekends June–Aug.
Look for the ‘open’ sign and feel free to stop by for a free tour. You will learn about the architecture and furnishings of this restored Greek Revival home, as well as about the volunteer efforts to restore it to its original condition. Experience the “feel” of an 1850’s early settlement house and enjoy some peaceful time looking out over the restored marsh and wetlands.