NEW LENOX – The New Lenox Area Historical Society has created a map of eleven sites in the New Lenox area which have achieved historical landmark status. The map, along with pictures, and the story behind the landmarks will be available at the historical society’s annual Oktoberfest dinner and silent auction from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Harry Andersen VFW, 323 Old Hickory Road, New Lenox.
One of the landmarks, the Old Brick Tavern, was razed in 1995. The solid white brick building, sat on the south side of Route 30 east of the village since about 1842. During its 153 years of existence the Old Brick Tavern served as a private residence, an inn, a tavern, a stage coach stop, and in the end, it was the office for a landscaper. It was also likely a stop on the underground railroad as fugitive slaves escaped the South en route to Canada.
Oral history claims the Old Brick Tavern once hosted Abraham Lincoln as a young lawyer as he traveled through the area. Perhaps the inn was a stop on his way to the 1860 Republican Convention in Chicago where he was nominated president.
The surprise destruction of the Old Brick Tavern in 1995 shocked the New Lenox residents and prompted action by the New Lenox Area Historical Society to save, record or maintain other landmarks such as Schmuhl School, the town’s only remaining one-room schoolhouse.
Proceeds from the Oktoberfest homemade, traditional German dinner help support Schmuhl School and classes held there throughout the year. Purchase tickets at New Lenox Area Historical Society, 205 W. Maple (Rt. 30), by calling 815-485-5576 or at the door.