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2017 Garfield Farm Museum 29th Annual Awards Dinner - April 22

Campton Hills, IL: Garfield Farm Museum is honoring the Corron Farm Preservation Societyís publication An Illustrated History of Campton Township and the Forest Preserve District of Kane County at its 29th annual awards dinner on Saturday April 22, 2017 at 8 pm at Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, IL.
       The newly published Illustrated History of Campton Township was commissioned by the Corron Farm Preservation Society engaging author Adam Gibbons. This is the first history of its kind for Campton Township and it honors Lucinda Muirhead Corronís efforts collecting historical information on her family and Campton Township for a 1976 bicentennial program. The Corron Farm Preservation Society is a non-profit organization working to preserve the Robert Corron Farm that Campton Township Open Space Program purchased in the early 2000s. The publication of a two-volume set of over 700 pages chronicles the settling of Campton Township thru the modern day. Many of the accounts and the photographs have never been seen outside of private family collections and have never been assembled together in one publication.

       For the fledgling historical organization to recognize the value of preserving information, while they work at the challenging task of preserving the buildings and artifacts of Corron Farm is most laudable. For this effort, the Garfield Farm Museum Historic Preservation Award is being given to the society. In 1990, the late Lois Divine was recognized for the publication of The History of LaFox, IL and these two publications go a great way in establishing how these farming communities became the present day rural residential neighborhoods of the 21st century.

         Preserving remnants of what Illinois was like before the jarring effects of suburban development on the vast acres of farmsteads that were once open prairie and woodland is a very difficult challenge. Any acreage preserved for public and wildlife benefit is a blessing but the leadership to recognize opportunity and encourage the citizenry to be supportive is critical. Although Kane County has the least amount of forest preserve land in the collar counties, over the last 20 years it has worked hard to make up for lost opportunities to preserve some of the best by consistently adding to its holdings with the consent of the voting public. Doing so in a consistent matter and recognizing adding to existing preserves and/or next to other existing dedicated open spaces creates the greatest benefit for the citizens, wildlife and water quality.

       The establishment of the Mill Creek Greenway along Brundige Road is a prime example of combined efforts to protect both open space, water resources and wildlife. This acreage that now extends into Campton Township at the corner of Brundige Road and Illinois Rt. 38 compliments the efforts of other agencies that have dedicated resources to open space.

     To the east of this Greenway lies over 500 acres of the Prairie Green Acreage that the citizens of Geneva, IL preserved in the late 1990s. To the north just west and north of the St. Charles Illinois Youth Center campus lies the St. Charles Township Park Districtís Hickory Knolls natural area in Jim Breen Park. This land is adjacent to both Garfield Farm Museumís and Campton Township Open Space Programís acreages as well as the conservation easements held by Campton Township Open Space Program and the non-profit Openlands of Chicago. Garfield Farm Museumís holdings also adjoin the Campton Woods Fen to the west, which is managed by its homeowners association. Recognizing the value of all partiesí efforts greatly enhances the others work and establishes tacit partnerships whose sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

       For adding acreage located in Campton Township to the Mill Creek Greenway, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County is being recognized as a Cooperator for Camptonís Conservation. This category was created when the first property owners of Campton Township elected to sell their holdings or their conservation easements to Campton Township Open Space Program. Recalling four decades ago when petitioned pleas made to preserve land in Campton were ignored, the help of the forest preserve today is in such stark contrast.

       The evening will consist of a reception at 6 pm followed by a diner at 6:45 pm in the historic Dunham Woods Riding Club, which was the 1830s boyhood farmhouse of Mark Dunham. Dunham went onto to become the ďHenry Ford of draft horsesĒ as he imported and bred thousands of the French Percherons to pull the geared farm machinery of late 1800s American agricultural boom.

       At 8 pm the awards ceremony will be held including recognition of the museumís 1840s Society Class of 2016, donors of $1000 or more in that year. A special evening is planned, as it is the 40th anniversary of the museumís founding on May 12, 1977.

       To attend the evening contact the museum at 630 584-8485 or e-mail Garfield Farm and Inn Museum is the only historically intact former Illinois prairie farmstead and inn being restored as an 1840s living history farm and museum by donors and volunteers that have hailed from over 4000 households in over 44 states. The farm's holdings consist of over 374 acres and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.