Can someone set the headline to the tune used in “I’m Henry, the VII, I Am?”
As anyone who drives through Fox River Grove on Route 14 or who takes the train to Chicago knows, Fox River Grove has a spectacular little castle sitting up on the hill above the firehouse.
Neighbors have applied sufficient political pressure to keep its owners, Michale and Judy Strohl, from using it as a tourist attraction.
The castle was started in 1931 by Teddy Bettendorf and by the time I graduated from high school in 1960, he was giving tours. It has
- eight towers
- a guard room
- bugle tower
- castle yard
- enclosed sun porch
- modern kitchen
- wishing well
The suit, filed by attorney Robert Hanlon, does not ask for the five village board members–Robert Nunamaker, Suzanne Blohm, Joanna Colletti, Steve Knar and Michael Schiestel–be put in the dungeon.
It asks the court for
- an injunction to prevent the enforcement of new zoning restrictions concerning “Home Tours”
- $50,000 in compensatory damages from each of the named village board members
- $100,000 in punitive damages from the same five
- Legal fees and court costs
The filing notes that the Castle is used for an
- Easter Egg Hunt
- political meetings
- family gatherings
- people seeking to learn about the architecture
The McHenry County Historical Society plaqued the property, the only residential building so recognized in Fox River Grove.
Some details of the previous case, which the village lost, are included in the current suit.
The current ordinance, which Hanlon contends can only be applied to the castle can be seen below:
Besides being “spot zoning,” the suit claims the ordinance violates the owners’ First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.