Family honored for restoration work

Huntley residents have spent 10 years overhauling house

HUNTLEY – Melanie Hartmann now has extra motivation to finish the remaining restoration work her family started 10 years ago on a two-story house with historic roots in Huntley.

Since moving to Huntley in 2004, Hartmann and her husband have worked to save the original woodwork, picture windows and even glass bathroom door knobs belonging to their century-old home along Myrtle Avenue, near downtown Huntley.

They’ve done the overhaul in waves over the years, with about 5 percent of the restoration work left that includes the trim in the upstairs hallway and bathroom, Hartmann estimates.

“I’m inspired again,” she said. “I think I’ll get the five percent done this summer.”

The motivational boost came from the Huntley Historic Preservation Commission, after members awarded the Hartmanns the 2014 “Pride in Preservation” award this week for their restoration effort.

After spending years and investing thousands into their historic home, the Hartmanns have somewhat become local historians. They possess the “abstract of title,” which contains handwritten and typed notes that detail the ownership of their property.

At least six families, including the Hartmanns, have occupied the home since 1910, the records indicate. It once featured an outhouse, kitchen space for a butler and dirt basement floors. It was located on 10 acres of land, which was originally sold in 1840 for around $100.

The house had gone through piecemeal renovations until the Hartmanns started restoring features and transforming it to meet their modern needs.

A self-proclaimed lover of projects, Hartmann never realized the rich country history of Huntley until she began the restoration project.

She said her family could have lived in the many subdivisions being built in Huntley in the mid-2000s. But those new millennium homes just didn’t have the same feel as their historic one.

“I love the character and the history,” Hartmann said. “You can’t get that in a new subdivision.”

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