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Supporters break ground on Barrington White House

Project targeted for completion next year

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 12:02 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 12:04 p.m. CST
Jeff Krage ñ For Shaw Media Chet Busse from Pepper Construction Company address the crowd during Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremonies at the Barrington White House. Barrington 7/22/14
Jeff Krage ñ For Shaw Media Visitors are reflected in a hallway mirror as they enjoy refreshments inside the Barrington White House after Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremonies. Barrington 7/22/14
Jeff Krage ñ For Shaw Media People check out the inside of the Barrington White House after Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremonies. Barrington 7/22/14

BARRINGTON – Supporters gathered at the historic White House, on Main Street, in downtown Barrington, to break ground on the village's $6.1 million renovation and restoration plans Tuesday afternoon.

Work on the historic, nearly 14,000 square-foot facility is set to begin late this month – to be complete for Barrington's sesquicentennial celebration next summer, according to a news release.

The vision for the White House is to restore and renovate the property into an elegant and highly functional cultural and community center, with space on the second floor for charities, the release states.

Built in 1898 for John and Julia Robertson, the property is one of the largest historic buildings in downtown Barrington.

A volunteer-based Barrington White House Campaign and Steering Committee has been seeking private donations for the project for the past year, gathering more than $4 million to date. Construction will now move forward with the committee continuing to seek donations until the total cost of the project is raised, the release states.

Plans call for extensive work to be done on both the interior and exterior of the building.

The first floor will retain its original configuration with an elegant front entry, four parlors, and a dining room, in addition to an updated and expanded kitchen to support catering needs. The original woodwork and floors, including the main stairway, will be restored. The second floor will be divided into professional offices for nonprofit organizations to lease, while the third floor will be completely remodeled with a ballroom to accommodate seated parties of 150 people.

Historically appropriate landscaping and gardens will wrap around the exterior of the geothermal home with new walkways linking the various entrances, the release states. New lighting and benches are also planned.

The White House was open following the ground breaking for anyone wishing to tour the building once more before the restoration.

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