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The Brickyard: A New Roof Ensures New Programming

Rich Egger
A few of the beehive kilns still stand at The Brickyard

The Moses King Brick & Tile Works National Historic District launched a campaign to put a new roof on the old factory building.  If the campaign succeeds, arts-related programming can resume at the 10-acre site near Colchester.

“I think we can do this. I really do think we can do it,” said Tim Scholl, who owns The Brickyard, as it’s commonly called, with his wife Dev. 

Schroll said a new roof was put on the building in 1992 during his first volunteer effort at the Brickyard.

"And when we put 20 year shingles on we thought, ‘We’re good to go!’”

But 22 years have passed since those shingles were installed, and Schroll said water is starting to leak into the building, causing a bit of structural damage. However, Schroll said professional contractors told him the building can be saved, and a plan is in place to do that.

Credit Rich Egger
Arts workshops can resume in the old factory building if it gets a new roof.

Schroll said The Brickyard needs to raise $10,000 to pay for materials.  A fundraising campaign was launched in March with the hope of achieving the goal by the end of May.  

Contributions can be made on The Brickyard’s website.  They can also be mailed to the King Brickyard, 734 North Coal Street, Colchester, IL 62326-1032.

If the campaign succeeds, volunteers can install the new roof on the building this summer and programming can be scheduled to resume next year.

"This is where we do our workshops.  Our hot glass workshops.  Our raku pottery, which is ground firing workshops.  This takes place inside this building,” Schroll said.

“The problem when you get rid of your workshops is you get rid of the people that see this place … and can actually contribute and the artists that want to come back and do workshops for us.”

Schroll said it’s difficult to find state or federal funding for brick and mortar projects but he’s certain grants can be secured for programming.

A Historic Site

The Moses King Brickyard began operations in 1878.  Schroll said the old factory building dates back to 1924.  The building is where bricks were made before being dried and then taken to one of the nearby beehive kilns to be fired.

Credit Rich Egger
Tim Schroll outside the small museum at The Brickyard.

Several of those kilns still stand, though only one of them is safe and secure.  

The King Brickyard closed in 1968 after 90 years as a family-owned business.  Dev acquired the site in the early 1990s.

Tim Schroll said as far as they know, it’s the last standing old brickyard in Illinois.  He said it was added to the national historic register in 2001 and it’s now recognized as a non-profit 501(c)(3) officially known as The Moses King Brick & Tile Works National Historic District.

Schroll said they’re trying to maintain the history of the site while also bringing in new people and making it a place where art is created.

He said if the fundraising campaign for the roof succeeds, a “thank you” reception will be held this fall for those who contributed.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.