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Quintessential Barrington

BACOG Turns 50

BACOG was formed four years after the youngest Barrington area village,
Tower Lakes, was founded


story by Barbara L. Benson

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The July/August 2017 issue of Quintessential Barrington featured the story of the Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. When it was formed in 1970, the villages that make up the Barrington area were relatively young in their organization. The exception was the Village of Barrington, incorporated in 1865, the landmark hub around which these newer communities gradually emerged. Barrington Hills and Deer Park incorporated in 1957; North Barrington, Lake Barrington, and South Barrington in 1959; and Tower Lakes in 1966.

While each village would develop its own character, its own sense of place, there was commonality that the location and natural resources of the entire area needed an organization to protect those resources, and provide strength in numbers to counter the pressures of burgeoning development in the northwestern suburbs.

Thus, nurtured into being by enlightened leadership from the Barrington Area Development Council, the Barrington Area Council of Governments met for the first time on April 25, 1970. The Executive Board consisted of the village presidents of the member villages. In 2004, the Council was joined by the supervisors of Barrington and Cuba Townships, representing those unincorporated areas still under county jurisdiction, and thus subject to possible incompatible development pressures.

The Village of Tower Lakes was one of the founding members of BACOG represented by the first village president, Cyril H. Wagner.

In those early years of the new villages, their administrative operations were makeshift. There were no streamlined village halls to accommodate the residents’ business and sometimes office space was used in another village.

Tower Lakes was no exception. After incorporation in 1966, Tower Lakes expanded its boundaries through annexation of South Hills, Marian Hills, West Hills, Fenview Estates, Country Club Estates, and Tower Trails. The latter two are on original Davlin farmland east of Route 59. Through these years of expansion, village government operations and records, including the Police Department, were run out of the homes of the various officials. Meetings were held in what was then the real estate office of Baird and Warner, an original Davlin farmhouse on Route 59, which had been Mr. Barsumian’s community administration building.

In 1991, the Village obtained temporary storage and meeting space in the old Lake Barrington Park District building on Kelsey Road. In 1992, the Village leased temporary space in Lake Barrington’s Market Place. But unlike most of the other villages, Tower Lakes would come full circle to its history.

In 1995, the Village purchased the Baird and Warner office to establish the first permanent Village Hall and Police Station. Baird and Warner was the last, and with the Blacksmith Shop, the Texaco station and the Tea Room, one of the few businesses that Tower Lakes had known. Unlike some of the other villages, Tower Lakes’ focal point would return to its historic beginnings at Davlin’s Corners.

For its 50th anniversary, BACOG’s current and second executive director Janet Agnoletti will update readers on the current work of the Council in the March/April issue to coincide with the magazine’s year-long feature on Barrington and its neighboring Villages.

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Barbara L. Benson grew up in Kent, England, and later moved to New York. She settled in Barrington and has walked with our history ever since she first arrived here in 1980.