Genuine Northwest: Cabin Fever Edition

Check out these unique destinations that reflect the genuine character of our region.

T-1 Water Tower

95 Aster Lane, Hoffman Estates

Located behind a shopping center southeast of Golf and North Roselle roads, this water tower, known as T-1, is one of the oldest landmarks in the village of Hoffman Estates.

It was the village’s first water tower, erected in 1955 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company of Chicago. The tower stands 180 feet high with a diameter of 32 feet and a capacity of 100,000 gallons. A secondary tank just to its south, built in 1962, holds an additional 920,000 gallons.

The tower was integral to the community’s initial growth, as it was built four years before the village was incorporated. Drawing water from a well on-site, the tower fed the first homes and businesses to appear within the community, says Pat Barch, historian for Hoffman Estates. Today, the village maintains seven water towers that support a population of 51,000.

The tower has been an iconic landmark to locals and the estimated 26,700 people who pass it daily, according to Illinois Department of Transportation.

“Everyone who lived out here had families who lived in the city,” says Barch, who moved to Hoffman Estates in May 1965. “So, when we would drive home, we’d be coming down Golf Road and you’d come up over a little rise and see the red lights on top of the tower flashing. My kids would say ‘Hooray, we’re home!’”

Nunda Lodge No. 169

200 Ellsworth St., Crystal Lake, (847) 461-9811,

This group of masons is the oldest remaining fraternal organization in Crystal Lake. Founded in 1855, it has welcomed many well-known members of the community, from doctors and judges to politicians and educators.

The lodge’s first meetings occurred in Horace Burton’s home near Griswold Lake and at the Colonel Palmer House on Terra Cotta Road. The Masons settled into the second floor of Town Hall in 1907 and met there for more than five decades.

In 1960, membership had grown so much that the Lodge needed a new meeting space.

It settled into the former St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, which had just relocated a few blocks away to Woodstock Street. Upon taking ownership, the Masons paraded in full regalia from their former home into their new lodge.

The building was renovated for the Masons’ needs, and today the 344 members of Lodge No. 169 still meet there.

These days, the Lodge sponsors youth programs, offers support to members in need and performs outreach to the community at large through efforts including college scholarships and public events.

Kane County Veterans Memorial

719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva, (630) 232-3550

Designed and sculpted by local artist Guy J. Bellaver, this memorial honors all of the men and women from Kane County who have died in military service over the past 127 years.

Installed on Nov. 11, 2004, the memorial sits in a half-circle outlined by seven columns. At the center of the circle, atop a stone wall, stands a bronze soldier waving a flag. At his feet, an inscription reads: “Freedom is not free – it must be earned and preserved by each succeeding generation.”

Roughly 843 names are permanently inscribed on the memorial’s wall of honor, located just below the soldier. The list represents Kane County men and women who died in the Spanish/American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War.

Each of the memorial’s seven stone columns bears a bronze plaque representing one of the seven wars America fought in the 20th century. The plaques list major campaigns from those wars in addition to the number of deaths from each campaign, the number of military service personnel involved in the war, and various facts related to the war and Kane County’s contributions to the fighting. Artwork from the period adorns each plaque, and each bears a quote from a prominent figure at the time, like former President Calvin Coolidge or Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

There’s a scannable QR code on site that takes viewers to a virtual memorial online, where they can learn more and add information about fallen heroes.