Building Open Weekdays 8 a.m.– 4:30 p.m
Site & Trails Open Daily Sunrise to Sunset
18410 US Highway 14, Woodstock 60098
Ph 815.338.6223 | TDD 815.334.2878
Brookdale Administrative Offices house the Administration, Communications, Volunteer Management, Human Resources, Planning, and Sites & Fleet departments as well as the Conservation District Police Department. Visitors can receive Camping and Picnic Shelter permits here as well as Districtbrochures, site maps and publications.
Brookdale Conservation Area features an 11-acre pond with an overlook pier, a 1 mile hiking trail along the north side, picnic shelter with grill, and an ADA accessible trail around the east side of the lake with additional parking off Paulson Road. The pond is stocked annually and contains large mouth bass, bluegill, crappie, green sunfish and bullheads. (No boats are permitted.) View the site map.
In 1840, Wesley Diggins built a dam across the Kishwaukee River and constructed a sawmill to log the area’s abundant timber. The Village of Brookdale was established on February 8, 1848 with the plan to have the Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad extend its tracks from Cary, through Brookdale then north to Janesville, Wisconsin. A disagreement with the railroad company caused the owners to bypass Brookdale. On February 15, 1856, the village was formally abandoned.
One of Brookdale’s earliest buildings served as a combination town hall, tavern and stage stop, which years later would provide the cornerstone for the Willlows (now the District’s Main Office) building. In 1935, Elmer and Helen Pellegrin purchased the property and constructed a home and studio around the original stage stop waiting room of the town hall. Their son constructed a home nearby, now known as the Birches (currently home to the Police and Land & Facilities Department).
The Aaron and Sylvia Scheinfeld Foundation took ownership and opened a center “dedicated to a program for the creative solutions of social problems.” In 1987, the Northern Illinois University Foundation received the Woodstock Center as a gift agreement from the Scheinfeld Foundation.
In 1998, the District purchased the property from the NIU Foundation with grant assistance from the Scheinfeld Foundation. In November of 2000, the District moved its headquarters to the Woodstock site and restored the name to “Brookdale” to reflect its history.