History and architecture abound in Barrington. The Village was incorporated in 1865, but the Barrington area was settled by pioneers in the 1830s.
What began as a farming community quickly turned into a transportation hub as Barrington was platted along the Chicago & North Western Railway. In the early 1900s, the area became a countryside retreat for wealthy Chicago businessmen, and its equestrian tradition, small-town charm, and wide open spaces remain today.
Barrington’s Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places (see right). It is one of the largest frame-home districts in Illinois, with an emphasis on Folk, Craftsman, Victorian, and other early American architectural styles. The crown jewel is Lake Street, where you can see stunning examples of Queen Anne homes lining this quiet, tree-shaded byway. Throughout the Village, you’ll find plaques marking the history of both homes and businesses.
The Barrington History Museum features ongoing exhibits and also demonstrations at the old Blacksmith Shop, which was moved from its former site at Village Hall to its new location on Applebee Street behind the History Museum.
And for those who enjoy a bit of Chicago gangster intrigue, Barrington has the infamous honor of being the site of the 1934 “Battle at Barrington” that killed two FBI agents as well as notorious gangster Babyface Nelson. A memorial plaque honors the FBI agents at Langendorf Park.
BUILDINGS ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
Barrington boasts three buildings on Main Street that have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places:
BARRINGTON’S WHITE HOUSE
145 W. Main Street (docent tours available; www.barringtonswhitehouse.com)
THE CATLOW THEATER
116 W. Main Street. A 1920s-era theater featuring nterior design by renowned sculptor & designer Alfonso Iannelli (open during business hours; www.thecatlow.com)
THE OCTAGON HOUSE
223 W. Main Street (a private office; may be viewed from the sidewalk)
BARRINGTON AREA LIBRARY - www.barringtonarealibrary.org/local-history
BARRINGTON HISTORY MUSEUM - www.barringtonhistorymuseum.org
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, SIGNAL HILL CHAPTER - www.ildar.org/chapters/signalhill
QUINTESSENTIAL BARRINGTON MAGAZINE - www.qbarrington.com
VILLAGE OF BARRINGTON - www.barrington-il.gov