The white clapboard building in Burlington Township in rural Kane County looks like an church that’s missing a steeple.
It has peeling white paint and tall green shutters covering six windows — three on each side. But the 1872 South Burlington Community House does not easily yield its secrets.
Located on Ramm Road near an intersection with Snyder Road in northwestern Kane County, the building sits on a property with an unlocked outhouse in the back and the South Burlington Cemetery, the final resting place for early settlers, just steps away.
What’s inside is unknown. The building is securely locked and information on its ownership, background and previous uses are hard to come by.
There are scant clues. A plaque outside the double-door main entrance declared in 1990 that it was part of the Kane County Register of Historic Places, one of 51 highlighted historic properties.
“The Kane County Register of Historic Places is the official list of county landmarks, historic districts and road corridors recognized for their historical, architectural and scenic significance, as well as for their architectural or aesthetic importance, interest, or value,” a county planning document stated.
Such designation offers some protection to the property and prohibits significant alterations.
But available online county documents offered no explanation of the South Burlington Community House’s selection or its significance and other research attempts came up empty.
A recent visit by the Chronicle found the Burlington Township Highway Department open, but an employee had no information. Separate attempts to reach a township official were also unsuccessful.
The mystery continued after an unsuccessful physical search through Burlington Township historical maps, accounts and documents locked in an archive at the Ella Johnson Public Library in nearby Hampshire.
Readers with any information on the history or current use of the South Burlington Community House are invited to e-mail the Suburban Chronicle at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll follow up with another story in the near future.