The Will County Historic Preservation Commission has undertaken a number of Rural Historic Structural Surveys. The purpose of the surveys is to document structures in the unincorporated areas of Will County. In 1988, Will County performed a survey of unincorporated rural areas, documenting more than 25,000 structures on over 5,500 sites dating before 1945. The documentation consisted of photographs and a completed information card utilizing a format established by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Recorded information included the approximate age, architectural style, construction materials, noticeable additions or alterations and overall condition of the structure. In addition to the survey, a report was prepared, "Historic Structures of Will County," dated 1991. The report examined the overall rural themes present in the county and identification of noteworthy structures.
Beginning in 1999, the Will County Land Use Department, acting as a liaison for the Will County Historic Preservation Commission, engaged a consultant to update the 1988 survey by performing intensive surveys of rural historical structures beginning in the northwest portion of the county (the most rapidly developing portion of the county). Due to its intensive nature, this survey project is no small task; however, Will County has prioritized this project and as time and funding have been available, to date, eighteen of the County's 24 townships have been surveyed.
In addition to the inventory report (and available for download below) supplied by the survey, the survey also includes a database which contains information about each property with notes about its architecture, photographs of each surveyed property, parcel number, landmark potential, building condition, sketch site maps, maps which identify the significant and potential local and/or nationally significant buildings, structures, sites, and districts, and finally, architectural and local histories which provide the historical context for the County. This data will be incorporated into the County’s GIS system. To view the survey in its entirety, please contact Historic Preservation Staff at the Will County Land Use Department, 815.774.7902.
The survey is a key component of Will County’s historic preservation program as it identifies, evaluates, and documents the County’s historic resources. The survey assesses the County's development and how this development impacts its historic and cultural landscape even to current times. The most important component of the survey is its determination of local and/or National Register eligible properties (individual landmarks and districts). Through this assessment, Will County citizens are provided with important places within their community that should be viewed with great pride and and historic preservation worthy. A useful research tool for the public, the survey information is also necessary for assisting the County with the development of appropriate planning measures to preserving its sense of place. The Commission encourages you to review the reports to learn more about Will County's history and significant historic and cultural assets.
The Will County Historic Preservation Commission is grateful to the Will County Board for prioritizing the survey project. The Commission is also grateful to have received National Park Service funding to complete many of the surveys via Certified Local Government Grants (administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency) and a Preserve America Grant.
Below are the townships for which rural historic structural surveys have been conducted:
- Channahon (2009)
- DuPage (2001)
- Florence (2011)
- Frankfort (2007)
- Green Garden (2004)
- Homer (2002)
- Jackson (2009)
- Joliet and Troy (Combined Report, 2009)
- Manhattan (2006)
- New Lenox (2003)
- Peotone (2014)
- Reed (2011)
- Wheatland, Plainfield, Lockport (Combined report, 2000)
- Wilmington (2009)
- Wesley (2012)
- Custer (2012)
Five Remaining Townships to be Surveyed: