History of Byron Colby Barn

Byron Colby, a local dairy farmer, built the Barn in 1885 on a nearby site overlooking the Des Plaines River. A century later it was scheduled for demolition to make way for development. When the owner instead agreed to donate it to the developers of Prairie Crossing, this historic dairy barn was preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

Led by restoration architect T. Gunny Harboe and Libertyville contractor Rick Bott, an expert crew carefully deconstructed the Barn timber by timber, numbering each one. In 1996 the Barn was expertly rebuilt in Prairie Crossing, a nationally known conservation community. The original timbers were restored and carefully fitted together with mortise and tenon joints, just as they had been over a century ago. The Byron Colby Barn now proudly stands at the entrance to Prairie Crossing at Route 45 and Jones Point Road as a testament to the quality of Midwestern architecture.

The Barn was named in honor of Byron Colby, the dairy farmer who built it, and repurposed into a unique event venue for the larger Lake County community. The Barn is used in support of the Liberty Prairie Foundation’s mission and its various uses are aligned with the Prairie Crossing Guiding Principles of life-long learning and education, a sense of community, and a sense of place. The Byron Colby Barn also serves as a community center for the Prairie Crossing community, and houses a private fitness center in its basement for residents.