Starting today, the Bishop Hill Heritage Association will begin a major exterior historic restoration project on the 1851 Carpenter Shop. The Carpenter Shop, along with one other building, are the two oldest Bishop Hill Colony brick buildings remaining. In the 1850’s, Colony carpenters made furniture and wagon components in this building. The second floor also contained a paint shop, used for painting the Colony-made furniture and wagons. Today, the town post office and a gift shop are located in this historic structure. Located on the main thoroughfare in town, the Carpenter Shop is one of the buildings that all Bishop Hill visitors see as they enter this National Historic Landmark village.

The exterior restoration work on this historic structure will cost over $500,000. Trillium Dell Timberworks, of Knoxville, IL, will oversee this project. These repairs will to not only return the Carpenter Shop to its original historic condition but will make it structurally sound for decades to come. The following work will be done on the building: windows repaired/replaced, stucco removed, bricks replaced, the entire building tuck-pointed, and a drainage system placed around the foundation. The project is scheduled to be finished later this fall.

This restoration project has been funded through donations, grants, and bequests. Organizations, such as the Ameren Illinois, Landmarks Illinois, Stifetlsen Konung Gustaf VI Adolfs Fond for svensk kultur, and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, have contributed funding so far. The BHHA has also received donations from over 75 individuals and groups who believe in the survival of this building.

We encourage people who are interested in historic building restoration to come visit Bishop Hill and watch the work being done on this pre-Civil War structure. The BHHA is also still accepting donations for this project. Please call 309 927-3899 or email if you are interested in helping to preserve this piece of Illinois history.