The Towner Historical Society is working to restore its old city hall and is now seeking help in donations and volunteers to make that happen.
The small city hall holds the history of McHenry County dating back at least a century.
“The building was built in 1906,” said Anna Thorson, President of the McHenry County Historical Society.
Its age is a reflection of how much this building has served the people of Towner.
“It’s been many different things. It’s been the city hall, a library, most recently it’s been storage for the city,” Thorson said.
Among those many things, it includes once being the sheriff’s department and jail. Thorson said this is an important part of Towner’s history.
However, for 30 years now, the old city hall has been left cold and empty, according to Thorson.
“One of the goals of the McHenry County Historical Society is to bring new vitality to our main street in Towner. We hope to represent the other small towns in McHenry County.”
That’s why the McHenry County Historical Society started a project to revive the city-starting with its history.
“It’s a total redo. It’s electricity installation, HVAC system, plumbing everything it’s a total redo. It’s basically a shell. That’s why for the past five years we have been having fundraising efforts to get this building into shape.” Thorson explained.
The plan is to transform the old city hall into a museum and a community center on Main Street.
It is estimated to cost about $300,000 and right now, the historical society is working to raise that money.
Verendrye Electric Cooperative is one of a few organizations that have donated to this cause by giving the project about $4,500.
“They took on an aggressive project, you know they got an old building that needs a lot of work. My compliments go to the handful of people that are directly involved,” said Randy Hauck, General Manager for Verendrye Electric Cooperative.
These funds will be matched with state dollars in order to restore the building.
Since it began five years ago, the building has been given a new roof and windows. It may take up to a year to complete the transformation process if funding is available.
The society is seeking volunteers and more donations in order to complete the project. You may contact the McHenry County Historical Society via their Facebook page if you are interested in doing either.
Towner is the seat of McHenry County with a population of under one thousand.