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Garfield Farm Museum’s 35th annual Harvest Days is Oct. 2

Sep 26, 2016 11:44AM ● Published by Neighbors Magazines

On Sunday, October 2 from 11:30am – 4:00 pm, Garfield Farm Museum will hold its 35 annual Harvest Days. This year several milestones will be reached in the farm and the museum’s singular history.

The 95 acre Edward Garfield/Mongerson Brothers Farmstead has been added to the Garfield Farm and Garfield Tavern listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The expansion of the listing’s boundary falls in a most appropriate year as 175 years ago the Garfield family came to then Fairfield Township, now Campton Township, and purchased the 440 acre claim of Sam Culbertson. After living for five years in the Culbertson log house which doubled as home and inn, the Garfield family, in October of 1846, 170 years ago, moved into their new brick home and tavern as inns were called.

This year’s Harvest Days will celebrate these successes and anniversaries with demonstrations of historic household and farm skills necessary to survive on the 1840s prairies of Illinois. From ox driving to spinning and weaving, the work of these settlers created one of the most productive centers of agriculture in the world. In the 1840s the focus was on the production of wheat hauled by farmers to the Chicago port where it began its worldwide journey by the Great Lakes and Erie Canal to the Atlantic.

The museum’s nearly completed restoration (short of wagon ramps) of the 1842 barn brings back for the first time in over 152 years the real function of this barn, the storing and threshing of wheat. Once again the thud of the wheat flail on the floor of the barn will echo across the fields and woods of Garfield Farm. Museum donors have already marveled over the excellent work by Trillium Dell Timberworks in restoring the barn giving real life to its interior having had its floor removed after 1911 for machinery storage.

All of this is the result of 39 years of effort to save and preserve this intact former Illinois prairie farmstead and inn as an 1840s working farm museum. Consisting now of over 375 acres including the second generation’s 1859 farmstead, the Edward Garfield/Mongerson Brothers Farm, and the neighboring 1840s Atwell Burr House and 38 acres of that settler’s farm, and the Garfield Harley Pond and Woods once owned by Timothy’s son Jefferson Adams Garfield and subsequent descendants, no other non-profit donor and volunteer supported site in the Midwest has methodically worked to bring together all the elements necessary to establish such an interpretive site of Illinois’ great contribution to the world’s food supply. After ten years of thorough archaeological investigation, even the dark soil of the prairie is yielding clues to early settlement life as the museum has embraced the discipline of research to explore the original log house and tavern site.

As these elements all come together, the visitor to Harvest Days can get a clearer impression of the future of the museum when day to day activities of the 1840s will be portrayed to students and families on a daily basis. This year’s Eagle Scout projects from rebuilding period appropriate fence for the oxen to stacking brush to re-established the remnant prairie and oak savanna further enhance the visitor’s understanding of a world long since disappeared.

Viewing the demonstrations, seeing up close the rare breeds of farm animals, standing beside towering prairie grasses and flowers, and touring the historic rooms of the 1846 brick tavern makes the rapid hectic pace of modern life disappear for an afternoon. Refreshments and food will be offered by Inglenook Pantry and the museum’s volunteer bakers will have their best efforts available at the museum’s Farmer’s Market and Bakery.

There is a $6 donation for adults and $3 for children under 13 years of age. Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road in beautiful Campton Hills. For information call 630-584-8485 or email info@garfieldfarm.org.

 

Arts+Culture, Today, News Harvest Days Milestone Prairie Settlers Barn Preservation
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