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Transportation in Early Illinois Lecture May 20

On Thursday, May 20 at 7 pm Garfield Farm Museum will present a Fireside Talk on "Transportation in Early Illinois" by Henry Vincent of Hampshire, IL. Just as the extension of the METRA line to Elburn is forever eliminating the farmland and altering the community of LaFox and Elburn, transportation has a long history of shaping Illinois' landscape.

The rapid settlement of northern Illinois and the explosive growth of Chicago in the 19th century is a result of the convergence of lakes, rivers and canals that made Chicago a port to the Atlantic Ocean. By 1850, Chicago was the shipping more grain than any other port in the world although northern Illinois had only been settled for 18 years.

Henry Vincent will present maps and diagrams highlighting this transportation center. He is a volunteer at the Union Railway Museum and will also explain the coming of the first railroad to Illinois that guaranteed Chicago's position as transportation hub of the nation.

Garfield Farm Museum is a rare survivor that was part of this transportation network. In 1841, Timothy Garfield opened his newly acquired log home as an inn catering to farmers hauling grain to the Chicago market. As many as 100 wagons a day would pass by the Garfield Inn that was built in 1846 to provide a more comfortable and substantial business for tired travelers. The three day ride with loaded wagons to Chicago was soon reduced to 1 hour with the coming of the railroad in 1849 to St.Charles. For the 41 taverns between Garfield's Inn and Chicago's Randolph St. along the Chicago-St.Charles Road, for many, including Garfield's Inn, trade collapsed by 1851.

Garfield Farm Museum is being restored as an 1840s working farm museum by volunteers and donors from around the country. There is a $5 donation for the lecture and refreshments. Calling ahead is suggested so adequate refreshments can be planned. For further information call (630) 584-8485 or email

For more information about Garfield Farm send an e-mail message to: or call 630/584-8485.

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