News from Garfield Farm

Return to News Index | Garfield Farm Home


Escape the political rhetoric and world turmoil and rediscover the core values of life at Garfield Farm Museum's Harvest Days, October 2 and 3, Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 am - 4:00 pm. In a rural atmosphere free of commercialism and consumerism, families can reconnect with the source of their food, the values of hard work, and the heritage of their American freedoms.

Schools train the youth, organized sports keep them fit, but few outlets exist for parents to teach their young good citizenship, self-reliance and the heritage of this country and its freedoms. Garfield Farm Museum is just such a venue.

Harvest Days, in its 23rd year, best demonstrates the future daily routine of Garfield Farm Museum when it is fully restored as a hands on 1840s working farm. Harvest Days offers hands on experiences in how life in another era was lived when America was a young and fragile democracy. Demonstrations of seasonal farm and household chores in a pre-railroad era such as domestic manufacture, grain flailing and winnowing, corn harvesting, and more will be featured. Tours of the 1846 brick tavern will be ongoing. The event also hosts visiting re-enactors portraying various aspects of Illinois' history prior to the settlement of Northern Illinois. This encampment of living historians helps visitors see how much Illinois changed from the first meeting of the native peoples and the French explorers to the 1830s arrival of the New Englanders that quickly populated northern Illinois in less than 18 years.

Life was not all work and the best entertainment of the time was music and the spoken word. Reid Miller, Teller of Tall Tales, best captures the oral tradition when knowledge was based from generation to generation by oft repeated stories. Miller will provide song and music as well. The life of Timothy and Harriet Garfield demonstrates what hard work and a family working together could achieve in an era when there were no safety nets to help make a home and livelihood. Tours of the restored 1846 brick inn that Timothy operated in addition to farming, teaching, surveying, and brick making, highlights his and his wife's desire to succeed. Museum volunteers will also interpret the prairie that made the soils so fertile for farming. Others will demonstrate ox driving which powered the plows that broke the prairie. The first northern Illinois farms grew wheat that was sold on the world market by the early 1840s. In the 3 bay English style barn Timothy Garfield built in 1842, this season's crop of oats will be flailed and winnowed. Children can help build corn shocks and then husk the corn and try to compete by hand shelling an ear while a hand cranked corn sheller demonstrates some of the first mechanical efficiencies to appear on these prairie farms. The farm's hogs, sheep, chickens, turkeys and geese, all rare historic breeds, will be the beneficiaries of the shelled corn come winter.

Inglenook Pantry will have lunch and refreshments available and museum volunteers will host a bake sale. Harvest Days was begun in 1982 to benefit the museum's preservation. It has become a traditional fall outing for many families and friends. There is a $6 donation for adults and $3 for children under 13 years of age with their parents. Organized youth groups are $4 each. Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt.38 on Garfield Road. For information call (630) 584-8485 or email

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

Questions or comments about this web page: