Roscoe Township Historical Society has made significant progress on its ongoing project to restore the Robert. J. Cross Homestead at 4562 Hononegah Road, Roscoe, Ill. 

In early 2020, renowned architectural archeologist, Floyd Mansberger conducted an evaluation of the homestead’s original brick structure, identifying historic elements that date from the 1840s. His report is helping guide work to create historically accurate restorations to that original building. 

In December 2020, public sewer and water were brought onto the 17-acre site by Roscoe Township, owners of the property. Those utility services have been piped into the Homestead. Water is essential to remove the exterior white paint in order to reveal the original brick structure as it was in the 1840s. Paint removal will begin as early as March, to be followed by the installation of new windows. 

The new public water and sewer services will be utilized by the Township for its plans to develop and construct among others spaces, a 3,350 sq. ft. community center, an outdoor pavilion, an intimate music venue, public gardens, sculpture gardens, walking paths and a farmers’ market space. 

The 1940s annex has been completely gutted in preparation for the first stage of its renovation. A local firm, Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects has generously contributed its creative services to the Historical Society. They have provided working drawings that will guide the transformation of the annex into a modern museum center and public meeting space.

Livestream viewings and in-person public viewings of the renovation’s progress are planned in the coming months to the extent allowed by prevailing COVID-19 restrictions. In the meantime a photo gallery can be found at https://roscoehistory.org/. 

More than $35,000 in donated cash and in-kind services have been used to complete all work to-date. With $15,000 currently in hand, it is anticipated that an additional $100,000 of privately donated funds and services will be needed to complete the Homestead project. Tax-deductible contributions can be made online at https://roscoehistory.org/donate or by mail to Roscoe Township Historical Society, Box 214, Roscoe, IL 61073. All potential major gifts or matching gift offers, multi-year commitments, or corporate donation inquiries can be directed to Bern Sundstedt, Society President at info@roscoehistory.org. 

Robert J. Cross roscoehistory.org/robert-cross-1came to this region in 1835, becoming the first non-native, permanent settler of what is now Roscoe Township. He represented Winnebago County at the State’s first constitutional convention. He served several years in the Illinois General Assembly and helped write the State’s current constitution.  

Roscoe Township Historical Society roscoehistory.org is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is the study, preservation and dissemination of Roscoe Township history.  

 
 
 
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