212 West Main Street | Barrington, Illinois 60010
In 2000 we have moved to our new location in the "Old Barrington Center" at 212 W. Main Street in Barrington, IL. Please call 847.381.1730 for information about our events and exhibits.
William Klingenberg was a life-long resident of this area, tracing his family’s Barrington roots back to the 1850’s.
He was born on January 14, 1904, on a farm located on Harbor Road. At the age of two, Bill moved with his family to an 80-acre farm on Oak Knoll Road. He grew up there, but the farm is gone now, and has become the Barrington Hills Country Club golf course.
During his lifetime, Bill has distinguished himself in many ways. His experiences range from life as a farmer, test pilot, hot air balloonist, pilot instructor, barnstormer, businessman and innovator in the aeronautics industry, and a postal employee.
In 1898, the Telephone Company installed poles and lines in Barrington, and started with twenty subscribers. The same year, Barrington built an electric generating plant and, for the first time, Barrington residents moved into the new age of electric power.
As Barrington’s population increased, so too did the number of businesses and industries. The American Maleable Iron Works was constructed in 1892, but went bankrupt shortly after 1900, due to inferior castings. The Barrington Steam Laundry opened its doors in 1900, and enjoyed immediate and lasting success. In 1904, the Bowman Dairy built a milk bottling plant which later became the Jefferson Ice Plant. The location is now the site of the Ice House Shopping Mall. In those days, Barrington had a total of four milk processing plants, and many cheese factories. Farmers from all over this region brought their dairy products to Barrington for processing. The Jewel Tea Plant was built in 1929, and in the same year Ed Wichman opened his blacksmith shop for business. The blacksmith shop was moved in 1999 to it's present location at the Barrington Area Historical Society compound.
In the last half century, Barrington has matched its strides to the rest of the world while retaining a strong tie to its beginnings. Just as those years hold many stories, so will the future years.
Bill sold his airplane and settled down when he married his wife, Edna, in the 1930’s. At that time, they both worked together to build their own home in Barrington.
Bill was active as Barrington’s town historian. His days were occupied collecting and documenting the history of Barrington’s early days, especially through oral histories from Barrington’s senior residents and also research on area structures for labeling as historic locations. Bill was also sought as a lecturer for the Museum, school groups, and other organizations. He was a past-President of the Barrington Historical Society, and one of its most respected members.