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  Upcoming April 7th Election:  Village of Campton Hills' Referenda Questions  
  Question #1: Shall the Village of Campton Hills take steps to preserve the identity of the Wasco area?  

Wasco's History
by Campton Township Trustee Kathleen Judy

Before the Village was incorporated in 2007, the "hamlet" of Wasco was thought to include various settlements in surrounding unincorporated Campton Township.  The following is a compilation of historical accounts and general outline of some of Wasco area's history.

In the upcoming election, Campton Hills' voters are being asked whether the historical character of the Wasco area should be preserved now that it has become part of the Village. Before the Village was incorporated in 2007, the "hamlet" of Wasco was thought to include various settlements in surrounding unincorporated Campton Township.  The following is a compilation of historical accounts and general outline of some of Wasco area's history.

The Wasco area has developed over the last two centuries as mostly commercial and residential with some light industry off of what is now Route 64 located west of St. Charles and east of Lily Lake; and also included settlements north and west of the Great Western Trail. At the center of the commercial area is the current Wasco Post Office on the north side of Route 64 at Old La Fox Road provides services for residents living in a one-quarter mile radius of its current location.

Historical accounts identify the U.S. Post Office in Wasco as being first located in 1836 at "King's Mill" on Ferson Creek at what is now the end of King's Mill Road.  King's Mill (now on Route 64) was the oldest building west of St. Charles built by Dr. King, a lay preacher. It was moved in the 1890s with horses on skids to its current location, and called Wanzer Milk before the 1940s. It was restored in its original character and put to its present use by the McPartland family, as fine furniture, oriental rugs, antique restorations, and repair store.

The Post Office was moved to nearby Gray Willow in the 1870s, north and west of what is now Corron and Burlington Roads, and then to its current location (Route 64 & Old LaFox Road) when the Bergland Store, a general store, opened for business in a wood framed building. George Bergland had originally opened the store in 1890s when the Great Western Railroad was establishing trains through Wasco.  This original wooden framed store was torn down in the early 1900s, and the existing brick building built on the same site by the Berglands. It then became the offices and general store of Hummel and Company in the 1940s after the death of Floyd Bergland.   During the 1900s, the Post Office in Wasco was relocated into different corners of the Bergland building.
At the turn of the century, the depot located in Wasco on the Great Western Railroad (now on Old La Fox Road) established commercial ties for the Wasco area farmers to ship their milk on the milk trains to Chicago.  It also encouraged movement and trade to the west.  After the Railroad ended its passenger rail service and abandoned the line in the 1940s, the Wasco Train Depot was sold to the Wasco American Legion. The depot was then turned into the Wesley Johnson American Legion Hall.  In 1999, Campton Township purchased the depot.  The Township renovated it again, establishing offices and meeting rooms. Malek Hall, named after past Campton Township Supervisor Ed Malek, (a.k.a. Campton Community Center) and is open to the public for community events and local government meetings including Village Board meetings.  It is also the current office for the Campton Township Assessor.   

Another historic building in Wasco recognized on the National Register is Campton Town Hall, built in 1873 and dedicated in 1874, is still used today for the Township's central offices.  Other Wasco buildings include historic homesteads, the Wasco Baptist Church (on School Road since 1891), Wasco School, an elementary school serving the area since 1906 (once a three-story stone building), and commercial buildings with retail operations and light industry, mostly established after rail service commenced or Route 64 was paved through Wasco in the late 1920s.  

Historic Wasco also includes the Mather Building, now housing a real estate office, at the northeast corner of Old LaFox and Route 64.  It was an early outpost as a farm machinery business and gas station during the late 1890s and early 1900s.   Residences sprung up around these stores, including the Santell Prairie home, built in the 1923.  Some older buildings in Wasco have been converted from residential to commercial property; some have been destroyed, some remain farms, homes and homesteads. Some were built specifically for commercial endeavors, such as the gas company, bank and various retail establishments and restaurants, including Niko's Lodge (the former Silverado and the Old Farm Inn).  

Sources:  HISTORY OF KANE COUNTY, ILL. by R. Waite Joslyn and Frank W. Joslyn, Volume II, page 853, (1908);  CAMPTON TOWNSHIP, 1835-1976, as compiled and edited by Lucinda Corron, and based on the Past and Present of Kane County, 1878; KANE COUNTY 2030 COMPREHENSIVE LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN, Kane County Landmarks Map, Figure 70.

  Question #2: Shall the Village of Campton Hills consider adopting a "Dark Sky" light ordinance?  

What's a Dark Sky Ordinance?

A "Dark Sky" ordinance is designed to regulate excessive and unnecessary lighting.  Such ordinances also seek to measure and control wasted artificial illumination.  They impose regulatory architectural design criteria and specifications for new structures, or changes in existing structures, such as lighting in parking lots and outside malls.   These ordinances can be traced to a global movement against light pollution. See http://www.darksky.org and http://illinoislighting.org.  Campton Hills voters will be asked their opinion on the Village adopting such an ordinance in the April 7th election. 

Per Wikipedia, light pollution is defined as: Any adverse effect of artificial light including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste. It obscures the stars in the night sky for city dwellers, interferes with astronomical observatories, and, like any other form of pollution, disrupts ecosystems and has adverse health effects. Light pollution can be divided into two main types: 1) annoying light that intrudes on an otherwise natural or low-light setting and 2) excessive light (generally indoors) that leads to discomfort and adverse health effects. Since the early 1980s a global dark-sky movement has emerged, with concerned people campaigning to reduce the amount of light pollution. 

The Village of Homer Glen (southwest of Chicago), which incorporated in 2001, passed this type of ordinance in 2008. Homer Glen received praise from Lt. Governor (now Governor) Pat Quinn last year: "Homer Glen's ordinance demonstrates that good outdoor lighting uses the right amount of light, where and when it is needed without wasting energy by sending light up to the night sky."  In addition to Homer Glen, other cities and counties in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana and New York have passed dark sky ordinances. 

Campton Hills is filled with nocturnal creatures and a Dark Sky ordinance would promote the preservation of their habitat. Opponents of Dark Sky ordinances raise safety concerns. However, proponents counter that too much light, directed in the wrong direction, can actually create blinding glares. Debra Norvil, president of the Illinois Coalition For Responsible Outdoor Lighting, notes that working with developers to ensure compliance is the most difficult part of enforcing Homer Glen's ordinance.

  Question #3: Shall the Village of Campton Hills pursue an Intergovernmental Agreement with Campton Township in an attempt to assist development and maintenance of Open Space parcels within the Village through grants, land-cash contributions, and/or donations?  

What would an IGA between Campton Hills and Campton Township Accomplish?

An Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is the mechanism that all governing bodies use to share, operate, fund and/or support joint activities or projects.  This proposed IGA would help support the construction of improvements on the open-space lands the Township purchased through Campton Township property tax dollars and grants. On the April 7th ballot, Campton Hills' voters will also be asked for their opinion of the Village entering into such an agreement. 

The Township has limited resources to develop amenities on these properties such as access/parking, walking or bike trails, or picnic facilities and make them accessible to the public for recreational uses. (The Township Open Space program primarily funds the acquisition of land and to date has acquired numerous sites and easements: Poynor Park, Corron Farm, Brown Road properties, Harley Woods, Headwaters Conservation Area, Mongerson Park, Mongerson Farm and Garfield Farm easements.) 

The Village may be in a better position to secure development grants, many of which are only available to municipalities. In addition, the Village now requires land/cash contributions for parks from new developments, which could be used to fund improvements on any public land within the Village.  Further community involvement through donations and fundraisers, could also be managed or supported in conjunction with Village events, such as the Heritage Farm Fest organized by the Village's Community Relations Committee.   

The primary cost to the Village would be preparing the grant proposals and managing the fund transfers.


Village of Campton Hills      40W115 Campton Crossings Drive  Unit B     Campton Hills, IL    60175
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