September 2015 Minutes


Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015

Historical Society Museum



Mon., Sept. 28, 7 p.m.: House Tour Wrap-up Meeting, Historical Society Museum

Thurs., Oct. 15, 7 p.m.: General GPA Membership Meeting,Historical Society Museum



Chris & Karen Bach, John Boline, Bill Briska, Barbara Evans, Tom Lee, Dan & Pat Miller, Mark Preradovic, Doug Tomsha and Officer Bob Engleke


GUEST SPEAKER: Melissa Lane, Gail Borden Librarian

In charge of developing the library’s digital collection, Melissa explained that its focus is on local history and its goals to preserve as well as to provide easy access to materials.

To view what is currently available, go to Gail Borden’s website Then click on “collections” and scroll down to Elgin Area Memories [EAM]. Already available, for example, are Rebecca Hunter’s four architectural studies, which one can access easily by just typing in her name in the search box at EAM.

Melissa explained that she was also working to include all of GPA’s house tour booklets as yet another collection. Pat Miller noted that a disclaimer indicating in essence that the information in them was collected by volunteer researchers under deadline pressures and thus may not be the whole truth and nothing but the truth will be needed. Bill Briska agreed.

Material archived in EAM is also in the state’s digital archives, which as of next year, will become part of Digital Public Libraries of America.

Any who have photos or records to share should contact Melissa at [email protected]


R.O.P.E. REPORT  (Officer Bob Engelke)

A letter from the EPD thanking GPA for its $300 donation to the R.O.P.E. camp was passed around.

Currently Bob is working to alleviate the parking problems around La Roca’s.

After briefly explaining a situation that arose in the 400 block of East Chicago St., he reminded us that if we need his help to resolve issues, we can call him at 847-354-3388 (cell phone). Of course if it’s an emergency, call 911.



Because there was no business meeting in August, the minutes approved unanimously were those of July 16.

Treasurer Pat Miller reported that GPA now has $16,902.25 in its checking account and $81,173.61 in four CDs for a total of $98,075.86. (This total does not reflect the net gain from the house tour as we’re still waiting payment from ticket sales at Jewel.)  This report was also unanimously approved.



  1. HISTORIC DISTRICT (Dan Miller 847-697-3370)

Jean Bednar is almost finished with her revision of the Elgin Historic District Walking Tour brochure, which will be available in hard copies.

Because the City didn’t give GPA the green light to go ahead with the phone app until the second week in August, it wasn’t ready to go in time for the house tour. Even so, it should have been promoted. Because it wasn’t, Pat Miller believes that GPA needs to renegotiate the contract for it. Barbara Evans said that an opportunity to promote it at NENA’s Christmas walk should not be missed.

Although Elgin Academy’s Laura Davidson Sears’ room that currently is used for storage is in sad shape, the academy has other more pressing needs than its restoration to a gallery like that housed in its sister room. Thus Laura Anderson has stepped in and hopes to raise the approximately $30,000 needed to do so. Dan recommended that GPA contribute but asked us to think about it for a discussion/decision later.


  1. HOUSEWALK (Bill Briska 847-421-4022)

Much to the dismay of all who have worked with him, Bill will not be the chair of the steering committee for next year’s tour. (As Dan said, he’s terrific to work with.) Anyone willing to head a committee of self-starters who can be counted to do their jobs please contact Bill or Dan.

Thanks to Donna Leetz—who provided the homeowners’ brunch (and gorgeous centerpieces which homeowners received)—the tone was set for what turned out to be a terrific tour. Bill read a letter from Jo Fryer, an Arlington Heights’ woman, that really covers everything that made it so. It follows:

          We absolutely LOVED the house walk this year!!! It was wonderful having the chance to see smaller homes and their beauty. Every time I go on the Elgin House Walk I want to live in each           of the homes!!! Thank you to EVERYONE involved in this wonderful event! I can imagine there are hundreds of hours put in preparation…not only by the organizers but also by the home-          owners!

           The docents were wonderful and conveyed their information with sincere appreciation for the  homes and the visitors coming through.

           We appreciated the chairs being put in front of the houses for sitting to put on the shoe covers.

           Nice to have water offered, too, at the locations. The food court offered delicious selections. . . .

           It was also great to visit with the firefighters. We learned a lot and hope to come to the Fire

           Museum in the near future to learn more.

           Thank you to all the homeowners for opening up their BEAUTIFUL historic homes to us! That  is very gracious of them.

           Each time we come to Elgin we learn more and appreciate the historic treasure that it is. We often say we wish, wish, wish that we could have seen it in its “heyday.” If these homes are this beautiful now, what must they have been like when they were first built!

           Thank you again SO MUCH for giving us such a wonderful day!

           P.S. Whomever was the president of the “Weather for the Housewalk Day” committee gets the

           grand prize this year for ordering up the most perfect sunny, mild, gorgeous pre-fall day!!!

Just how gorgeous the day was is captured on many of the almost-200 photos that Tom Lee took of the tour. To revisit the day and the after party via excellent pictures, see


  1. MEMBERSHIP (Moe Lee 708-828-9706)

Dan reported that Moe continues to contact new residents about GPA membership, which is now free.

Barbara asked that Board members be provided with an updated contact list for current members.



  1. Slate of Officers for 2016

Although terms are supposed to be staggered, somehow it turns out that all except member-at-large John Bodine has served the maximum two years in their positions. Thus we need a new president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and one board-member-at-large. As the slate should be presented at the October meeting, please contact current president Dan Miller ASAP if you are willing to fill one of the positions.


  1. Christmas Party

Though we haven’t even gorged ourselves on Halloween candy yet, John La Fleur is thinking ahead and has suggested that this year GPA have a Christmas potluck at the Senior Center and invite all the other old-house neighborhood groups to further promote community spirit/cooperation. If you’d be willing to be on this committee, please contact Dan Miller.



  1. Kane County’s Brunner Family Farm Forest Preserve & Long Meadow Parkway

Deborah Allen encouraged all to visit to learn about the preserve and while there, to investigate other Kane County forest preserves.

While some have been critical of the Long Meadow Parkway Bridge Corridor, Deborah reminded people of the fact that the Stearns Road Corridor has resulted in acres that will never be developed and has turned what was often a dumping ground into well-preserved land. To learn more about it, visit


  1. Many thanks to Deborah and John for bringing goodies for us to munch on as we socialized after the meeting.


Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Evans, GPA Secretary