History of the Huntley Town Square Gazebos

When you stand in Huntley’s beautiful town square park, you are standing on history.
The park was designated as a public square by Thomas Stillwell Huntley, who donated the land to the town that bears his name.  The earliest plat map of the village, dating to 1853, shows the town square park’s location.
For more than 160 years, the central park has been a lovely landmark in Huntley. Three bandstands, or gazebos, have centered the town square park over the years.
The earliest structure’s date is not documented, although it is known that there was a bandstand in the park before 1860. The lively Huntley Brass Band, known to be in existence by 1859, likely played in the town’s first bandstand. By 1861 most of the band members had joined the armed forces to serve in the U.S. Civil War, and the community’s brass band was dissolved.
But the bandstand remained anchored in the busy town square.  In photos, the first gazebo can be identified by its vertical wooden slats and dark columns.
The second gazebo was built in 1910. Andrew Schmidt, a local mason, did the cement work and laid the bricks at the base of the bandstand.  This version of the gazebo had horizontal iron railings around the sides, as well as the noted brick block foundation.  Round white pillars rose from the cement block supports to the eight-segment shingled roof.  A small spire, approximately 6 feet tall, rose from the center of the roof.
This 1910 bandstand stood in the Huntley town square park for more than 80 years. It was plaqued by the McHenry County Historical Society as an historic site on August 8, 1992.  A county historical society committee, including an architect, had determined the structure to be sound.
However, the Village of Huntley deemed the bandstand structurally unsafe due to termite and water damage and tore it down on November 22, 1993.  The county historical society repealed its plaque.
Local Huntley businesses pooled together their funds and resources and built the current gazebo in 1994 at no cost to village residents.  The newest version of the gazebo once again has vertical slats. A copper eagle tops the structure. The 2001 Huntley Sesquicentennial time capsule is buried in the center of the gazebo, a nod to the long history of the town square park.