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Neighbors of DuPage

Dylan Kingston restores Naperville Heritage Society’s Historic Structures Plaques for Eagle Scout Project

Dylan Kingston delivers plaques to homes and businesses, like Mesón Sabika.

Naperville, IL — On September 1, Dylan Kingston, a senior at Benet Academy, received his official notice from the Boy Scouts of America on becoming an Eagle Scout after completing his Eagle Scout Service Project with the Naperville Heritage Society. Kingston’s project was to replace the deteriorated plaques that document historic structures in and around Naperville’s Historic District. Kingston worked to gather volunteers, conduct a plaque inventory and document each plaque’s condition, and work to fund, create and replace nineteen of the over hundred plaques put up since the plaque program’s formation in 1970. Kingston will have his court of honor ceremony, to celebrate and recognize his accomplishments of reaching Boy Scouting’s highest achievement or rank, at Naper Settlement in November.

“We are so grateful to Dylan for the work he has done to support our Historic Structures Plaque program,” said Naper Settlement’s Chief Curator, Louise Howard. “Dylan has demonstrated fine leadership qualities as well as discipline and accountability in the planning, organizing and management of the plaque replacement project.  His achievement will help to increase community awareness of architecturally and historically significant properties within the Naperville community, and promote a sense of pride in local historic preservation.”

In December, Kingston, a former Boy Scout of Troop 510 from St. Raphael Church, was in search of an Eagle Project that would demonstrate his leadership on a task that would benefit the community and qualify him to move up in his rank. Kingston emailed a variety of organizations, and ultimately decided to pursue the restoration of NHS’ Plaque Program. In January, he began tracking how many of the plaques needed to be replaced, and went on a “scavenger hunt” with his volunteers to take pictures of each plaque and mark their condition.

“Leading up to that day, I passed out some flyers to my troop and sent out some text messages, but only expected about four volunteers to show up,” said Kingston. “Instead about 15 to 20 volunteers showed up, and it made me realize that people are very willing to help someone else succeed, and it’s a great feeling.”

Afterwards, Kingston reached out to a family friend who was able to donate his time and wood supplies to fabricate the blank plaques. Kingston and his volunteers raised funds to paint and letter the plaques, which was provided at a discount by Advanced Offset Press in Naperville.

Kingston hand delivered the plaques, and left notes for homeowners or businesses to pick up their plaques at Naper Settlement if they weren’t available. Kingston said his favorite part was seeing how appreciative people were of receiving their new plaques.

“It was nice working with Naper Settlement, because they gave me a decent amount of freedom to go through the process and let me do what I saw fit,” said Kingston. “In the end, we got the project done and it was a huge success.”

Kington’s official letter from the Boy Scouts of America congratulated him for his outstanding achievement, and his determination to serve humankind, understand the foundations of his community and nation, and stand up for freedom and democracy.

The NHS’ Historic Structures Plaque Program began as a way to increase community awareness of architecturally and historically significant properties and to promote a sense of pride in local historic preservation. If interested in registering your home, please visit our website: