Above / The Barn is located at 421 W Martin Avenue, practically in the center of Knoch Park.
With the New Year we begin to say goodbye to an old friend, The (Park District) Barn. Considering that buildings — brick, steel, wood, wire and glass — in and of themselves do not contain emotion, the memories we share in them can often convey emotion. As sad it might be to see that building come down, the memories will never be leveled.
The Barn was originally constructed in 1965 by the Youth Organization, Inc. which was a nonprofit that wanted to provide a place for teen programs. This 3,600 total square foot building served the community well for years. Given that Naperville’s population in 1965 was about one/tenth of its current size, The Barn may have provided a place to create memories well past its prime.
I can recall hearing stories from several friends in town about junior high dances at The Barn.
My first memory was when my three daughters had a Steperette practice or two at The Barn. The group tried as best they could to make it work, but the horizontal ceiling supports made for a very interesting evening as they tossed flags up in the air.
And how can anyone who has ever been affiliated with the Exchange Club of Naperville Ribfest forget checking in at The Barn before walking on the festival grounds to volunteer?
According to Mike Reilly, Naperville Park Board President, the Barn was built for a time gone by.
“And while it will be sad to see it go,” Mike said recently, “It is fitting that it comes down in the same year as the grand opening of the Fort Hill Community Center.”
Mike added that he “is impressed by the amount of volunteers from the community that help run programs.” Those programs and the new building surely will give the next generation an opportunity to create new memories.
The Barn is expected to come down in the summer of 2016, just after Ribfest, but before that, plan to collect your memories and photos to share. Stay tuned for announcements of where to send them.
Above / Back in 1965, to engage the community in fundraising for The Barn, Naperville Community Youth Organization sold 12-year debsenture bonds without interest that are beginning to surface. No. 24 belongs to Bev Patterson Frier.