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Alternative Harmony School sites sought

HARMONY – The McHenry County Historical Society, in cooperation with the McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission and Illinois Department of Transportation, is searching for a potential alternative site to accommodate the one-room Harmony School.

Built in 1931, the brick structure sits on 0.89 acres at the corner of Route 20 and Harmony Road in Coral Township. Its pristine historical condition and architectural pedigree resulted in the building being awarded landmark status Oct. 15 from the McHenry County Board. The vote was 24-0.

However, the building’s owner, Prairie Community Bank, is keen to sell the school, which subsequently became Harmony Real Estate, as soon as possible, according to a news release from the historical society.

IDOT also wishes to install a roundabout at the intersection, which it says requires the school building and an adjacent presettlement oak grove to be moved or demolished, according to the release.

To accelerate its plans, IDOT made a new offer last week at an informal discussion hosted by state Sen. Pam Althoff to pay to relocate the building to a new foundation, also at its expense.

The historical society, however, must find land on which to move it. The society also will assume responsibility for ensuring that whoever receives the title to this free building maintains the school and preserves its historical character in perpetuity.

Interested parties should contact Kurt Begalka at the McHenry County Historical Society at 815-923-2267 or by emailing info@mchsonline.org.

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