Labahn-Hain farmhouse recalls LITH’s roots

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Overlooking Woods Creek Lake is the Labahn-Hain house, a former farmhouse that has been restored and is used for a village preschool program, evening dance classes, and party rentals.

The house is believed to have been built in the 1870s and was on a 240-acre farm. The Labahn family owned the house until the mid-1920s, when it was sold to Judge Walter La Buy.

Even though La Buy thought about making the area into a golf course, he decided to build his family home in the area.

The Labahn house was used as a hunting lodge, said Bob Spooner, president of the Lake in the Hills Historical Society. There were lots of pheasants added as well as trees.

La Buy eventually sold the house, along with other property, to the Lake in the Hills Development Corp., and the area was subdivided in the mid-1940s.

The Labahn house was bought by Robert Hain of Chicago in 1947. He used the house as a weekend getaway location for almost 40 years, Spooner said.

In the late 1980s, the house no longer was up to code. Kids would break windows in the house, and it ultimately was condemned by the village, Spooner said.

The village took possession of the house in the 1990s.

It was going to be recommended to be burned as a fire training exercise in 1997. However, numerous longtime residents objected and formed a committee to save it, Spooner said.

So beginning in 1998, volunteers restored the house during a 2.5-year project.

Spooner said having the rare 1870s house available reminds residents of the area’s roots as a farming community, especially as urban sprawl came to the county.

“Everything else was developed as farmers were selling and barns were demolished,” Spooner said.

The house, and the land it sits on now, serves as an access point to Woods Creek Lake.

Today, the two-story portion of the house is original. The rest of the house was demolished and redone, said Trudy Wakeman, director of Parks and Recreation for the village.

Inside is a main room that holds 50 people. There is a fireplace and a kitchen, as well.

“It is an excellent baby shower, wedding, a 16th birthday facility,” Wakeman said. “It gets used a lot.”

There is still a silo on the property, and it is used as a marker for people looking for the house in the residential area.

The second floor of the Labahn-Hain house serves as storage space for the historical society, with old photos and land deeds, among other things.

There is a brick path around the house, put in as part of an Eagle Scout project. The bricks were part of the original house.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Wakeman said.

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