To the Editor:
We’ve seen this tragedy before, building by building, those physical examples of our built history disappear. It’s so sad, since their loss is irreversible. Case in point, the recent fire destroying Illinois’ oldest round barn (1897). Located north of Marengo on River Road, it was huge and such a majestic example of scientific barn building.
As a major U.S. milk-producing county when this barn was built, McHenry County once had more cows than residents. The round barn style was meant as a labor-saving design in herd maintenance. The circular design allowed for quicker and easier milking access to cows who faced a center core.
And, as for the huge haymow, looking up into its open interior and intricate rafter design well, for me, it’s the closest I’ve ever come to a religious experience.
Marengo’s now lost round barn is one more historical victim. It joins the ranks of other such casualties such as McHenry’s Central Opera House or its 1880 Pearl Street bridge, once the largest such bridge over the Fox River. Add also Union’s 1869 locally mined limestone Masonic Hall and the old Marlowe Mill in Huntley.
They and many others had stories to tell about our county’s history. I guess I have a right to be sad when they are lost.
Nancy J. Fike