The Clarendon Hills Historical Society is heading into the home stretch with renovation and remodeling of its Heritage Hall home base, which has been out of commission since an August 2015 fire.
Chuck Brand, president of the historical society, said Tuesday that while work will continue, plans call for a grand re-opening in April 2018.
"We've made good progress, and I feel really good about it," he said. "We want to get our mission going again. We want to have a nice community space available and be a place where people can come and learn about the village's history. We want to be part of the grade schools' curriculum."
Brand said the first scheduled program at Heritage Hall, 50 Sheridan St., The Potawatomi Indians and early settlers in Northern Illinois, will be in mid-January.
A Hinsdale boy, then 17, was charged with arson in the 2015 fire. Brand said restitution efforts of the historical society and the village remain in the courts.
He said that while original plans for a renovation and remodeling of Heritage Hall would have cost about $300,000, insufficient funding scaled the efforts back to about $30,000.
"In addition to fundraising and donations for money, we've had donations such as chairs and tables from the library," he said. "Everything had to be cleaned because of the smoke damage."
Three major additions to Heritage Hall are a bathroom, which meets the Americans With Disabilities Act accessibility standards, a prep kitchen and air conditioning. The building previously had no bathroom.
Two new entry doors also have been added, as have cabinets from the Middaugh Mansion's butler pantry which now display, among other things, a collection of books and vintage clothes. Also new are bow & arrow sets from the American Archery Company, which was established in 1946 on Walker Avenue.
Brand said fundraising efforts would continue.
"We still have a lot of work we'd like to get done, and we are going to need a new roof in the next couple of years," he said.
The Heritage Hall building previously was a water pumping station, and is owned by the village, which in 2005 gave the historical society a 99-year lease for $1 a year for its use.