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10th Annual Garfield Farm Awards
The Lincoln Highway Association
O'Donnell Crane of Cortland, IL
Wasco's White Brothers Trucking Company
Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation

    Campton Hills, IL: On Saturday, April 16 at 8 pm, individuals and organizations that have demonstrated parallel interests to Garfield Farm Museum's three themes of heritage, farming and nature will be honored after the 28th Annual Awards Dinner held at 6 pm at the historic Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, IL.

    The Lincoln Highway Association, O'Donnell Crane of Cortland, IL, and the White Brothers Trucking Company will each be recognized with a Garfield Farm Museum Historic Preservation Award.

    This year's recipient of the Environmental Preservation Award is the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation. Finally the rarely given Catherine Award will be bestowed upon Christa Thurman Sala for exceptional dedication to the preservation of Garfield Farm Museum.

    How unimaginable it would be to settlers Timothy and Harriet Garfield coming from the then remote Green Mountains of Vermont, that their Illinois prairie farm would border the first cross country modern highway, the Lincoln Highway, just 80 years after their arrival in Illinois. The Lincoln Highway Association was originally established in 1913 to plan, promote, and sign the highway. In 1992 the LHA was re-formed, dedicated to promoting and preserving the road and its heritage. Taking over 20 years of research, the LHA was mapped all the various routes that this highway took through the years. The original route was relocated to run past the Illinois Youth Center, just east of Garfield Farm around 1917. In the late 1930s the route was change again and the section past the farm became Illinois Alternate 30 before its present day name of Rt. 38. As the 1846 Garfield Inn represents the era of stage and wagon travel, to have the Lincoln Highway at the farm's southern border is further testimony to the significance of transportation in the nation's growth and development. The LHA is being given a Historic Preservation Award for focusing on this significant part of American history.

    Historic Preservation is a challenge because the rate of change forces us to constantly embrace the new without time to pause and reflect on how we have reached the present day and the lessons learned. For over 140 years a simple stone smokehouse that stood on the former Gunnar Anderson/Minnetta Barber farm that became the Campton Forest Preserve was all the remained hinting at the lives once lived there. Narrowly avoiding demolition by chance and circumstance, in May of 2015, Garfield Farm Museum had the opportunity to move it to the museum's property. Though its footprint was only 5 by 9 feet, being a stone structure, it needed to be under dug and a steel support system installed. Trillium Dell Timberworks embraced the challenge but when it came time to move it down the road on dollies, utility lines and a lengthy state dictated route made the task seem insurmountable. Fortunately, just a mile and a half away, was the specialty hauling firm of White Brothers Trucking of Wasco, IL. Jim White, second generation of the firm, was no sooner asked if his trucking equipment could handle a move, White offered his company's services at no charge if the museum could find a way to get it on the double drop trailer. This glimmer of hope called for a different kind of move. Calculating the stone structure could weigh between 12 and 20 tons, O'Donnell Crane was approached to use their 115 ton crane to lift it upon the truck. Not only did Ryan and Rich O'Donnell give a positive response they promised a favorable cost for the museum. With these two key specialties, a bright October morning move was executed flawlessly to great joy of all the museum's supporters. O'Donnell Crane's attitude of can do not only saved the day but their surprise complete donation of their services lifted spirits even higher. With this great help and a record of Jim White's company donating trucking services and repairs for other museum projects through the years, the museum is pleased to give each firms a Historic Preservation Award. The museum recognized Trillium Dell Timberworks in 2015 for their endeavors preserving America's agricultural architectural landscape.

    In efforts to preserve the landscape, many challenges arise and many resourceful methods are taken to help protect the natural landscape, its plant and animal life. For over 16 years, the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation has used a unique approach to assist the public forest preserves of DuPage and now Kane County in maintaining trails, restoring native landscapes and fostering an appreciation by such preserves that encourages forest preserve leaders to add to these important preserved lands. With time, treasure and talent, maintaining equestrian and walking trails, buying and planting thousands upon thousands of prairie plant seeds, removing invasive brush, acquiring equipment for such activities, and working to preserve the historic structures of the Wayne community, Garfield Farm Museum is giving the WACF an environmental preservation award. Members of each community must take the action necessary to preserve and protect what they most cherish in their own backyard as no one else is likely to do.

   The evening will also recognize the most generous supporters of the museum whose contributions last year qualified them as members of the Class of 2015 of the 1840s Society. In that spirit, the museum also recognizes its most dedicated and passionate supporters with the Catherine Matthies Award. The late Mrs. Matthies of Elgin, IL embodied the spirit and generosity that any organization is truly blessed to have. Her positive attitude, her willingness to always volunteer, and a generosity of giving that exceeded so many others not in amount but in degree, caused the museum to recognize her with an award named after her. Rarely given, it is a great honor to bestow this award on Christa Thurman Sala who has embodied these attributes in thought, word, and deed as she shares the vision of the museum's educational potential and importance to reflect Illinois' first prairie farms and its people.

   Individuals who would like to attend the 8 pm ceremony should contact the museum for reservations. A limited number of settings are still available for the 6 pm reception and dinner at $55 per person. A $50 donation will help sponsor the evening. Call 630 584-8485 for further information.

    Garfield Farm Museum is the only historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored as an 1840s working farm museum by donors and volunteers that have hailed from over 3500 households and 38 states.