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Garfield Farm Museum Awards Dinner April 18 - Reservations Due April 15

    At its 27th annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 18, at 6 pm, Garfield Farm Museum will recognize recipients of its Historic Preservation and Agricultural Preservation Awards. This year the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, WI, Trillium Dell Timberworks of Knoxville, IL and Patricia Pretz of St. Charles, IL will receive their awards after dinner at the 8 pm ceremony. Reservations are being taken to attend the evening’s festivities and are due by April 15th.

    This year there are two recipients of the Historic Preservation Award. The Jeffris Family Foundation is a singular entity that focuses on funding rural and small town and cities historic preservation projects. Non-profit organizations in the eight states of the Midwest (WI, MN, IA, MO, IL, IN, OH, MI) are considered. The Jeffris Heartland Fund provides matching grants for advanced planning studies for historic preservation projects preparing for a capital campaign and a restoration project. Capital Campaign Challenge Grants are made to invited projects which have completed their planning and are ready to launch a capital campaign. Garfield Farm Museum understands how exceptional this organization is as through 38 years of seeking funds, the Jeffris Foundation is the first to be so dedicated to the bricks and mortar needs of locally based restoration efforts.

    Although Trillium Dell Timberworks certainly does qualify to be recognized with a Historic Preservation Award for their restoration work, the firm is really helping to preserve our agricultural heritage. TDTW is one of the few firms that has the experience, know how, and passion to save the barns of the Midwest for continued use in farming. Having worked on over 1000 barns, the firm also does new construction of timber framed homes and buildings. Rick Collins, founder of TDTW will receive the Agricultural Preservation Award. Four, including Mr.Collins, of only 27 timber frame journey workers in the U.S. work at Trillium Dell. Quite often their experience and understanding of this historic construction method makes appropriate repairs and restoration much more affordable and longer lasting than modern “fixes”.

    Yet funding and technological skills are not sufficient to guarantee the nation’s heritage will be preserved. Just because a previous generation has restored or preserved our country;s heritage, it still requires vigilance of current generations to guarantee those past efforts’ survival into the future. Miss Jane Dunham had purchased the historic Bela Hunt house in St. Charles for a museum and rescued and restored the historic S.S..Jones Law Office in the 1980s. After Miss Dunham’s death, nothing was there once the Dunham Hunt Museum passed to the city of St. Charles, to guarantee its continued long term preservation. When the city sold the house, the small law office was left sitting in the backyard with no certain future. Thankfully, Patricia Pretz recognized the need to at least save this unique surviving structure of St. Charles’ early history. This vigilance, this stewardship of Patricia’s is an example to all as a result of her efforts the building now is located in a city park. Garfield Farm Museum is proud to award a Historic Preservation Award to Mrs. Pretz.

    The evening’s ceremonies will also include recognition of the museum’s most generous donors who are in the 1840s Society Class of 2014. These individuals, businesses and foundations have given $1000 or more to the museum during the past year. A noteworthy recognition of Garfield Farm Museum’s David Bauer, celebrating his 10th anniversary with the museum as Special Projects Director, will be made.

    Garfield Farm Museum is a historically intact 375 acre former Illinois prairie 1840s farmstead and teamster inn being restored as an 1840s working farm and inn museum. Individuals who would like to attend the evening should contact the museum at 630 584-8485 or e-mail A 6 pm reception followed by a 6:45 pm multi-course buffet dinner costs $55.00. Individuals or businesses may sponsor the evening with a $50 donation.

      Dunham Woods Riding Club of Wayne, IL is a membership organization that provides fine dining, tennis, paddle tennis, and swimming facilities. The club house is the former 1830s home of Solomon Dunham whose son Mark turned into the farm’s office and sales room. The club’s back bar includes what once was the farm’s walk in safe. Its barns house equestrian activities in the remnants of the once extensive historic Oak Lawn Farm. The farm was established by Mark Dunham as one of the largest importers of Percheron horses from France to meet the agricultural and draft needs of late 19th century. Such operations were critical to the success of industrialists like Cyrus McCormick and John Deere whose farm equipment needed fast but strong horses to power the gear driven machinery. As Dunham Woods Riding Club and Garfield Farm Museum are both Historic Sites on the National Register, the historical agricultural theme of the club is a most appropriate site for the museum’s annual celebration.