News from Garfield Farm
Major 2012 Projects Celebrated at Garfield Farm Museum's 35 Anniversary During Harvest Days October 7th
Campton Hills, IL Sunday October 7th's Harvest Days at Garfield Farm Museum will celebrate both the traditional harvest of the land and the bounty from hard work by generous museum volunteers and donors in 2012. From 11:30 am to 4 pm new friends and long time supporters will gather at the 374 acre living history farm and inn museum to make note of the 35th anniversary of the museums founding and the years great achievements.
Harvest Days will feature historic household and farm skills of the pre-railroad mid 19th century but this celebration will include the restoration of the farms largest roof. The 1906 dairy barn is the last building of the six large buildings at the museum to have its roof restored. Not since the 1930s has a sawn wood shingle roof protected the building from the elements. Two asphalt shingle roofs were added, the last in 1954, but they added additional weight to a roof not designed for the load. The 1906 dairy barn was a kit that was ordered, delivered by rail and wagon and then assembled by local carpenters. These kits attempted to economize for maximum profit and that can be seen in the barely sufficient 22 foot long 2x4s that were used for rafters. With some additional strengthening and the new roof, the barn has shone like a beacon for the past 2 months as the golden cedar shingles have yet to fade to gray.
Another big accomplishment at the museum is what cannot be seen. After 34 years of having to explain to students and families that the air conditioner/heat pumps were necessary to maintain appropriate temperatures in the 1846 brick inn, the hulking metal boxes are gone. In September, Garfield Farm Museum went green with the installation of a geothermal system to cool and heat the 166 year old brick inn. Now hidden in the basements, the compressors and air handlers create heat or cool by using the near constant 55 degree water circulated through six 300 foot long loops, ten feet below ground. Well out of the way of any archaeological features, this system will reduce operating costs for the museum, preserve the structure, and maintain a more authentic historic setting. Only a 100 foot square area had to be archaeologically explored prior to the directional boring of the loops. The system will be explained during the Harvest Days. This major undertaking included installing high efficiency HVAC systems in the museums other three historic houses at the museums two farmsteads.
This season over $80,000 of restoration, HVAC systems and assorted projects have been undertaken and in part made possible by the cooperative firms of Brothers Heating of Lombard, Azemi & Sons of Maple Park, IL, J& R Herra Inc. and G.Snow & Sons Directional Boring, , Grampa Del Well & Pump all of Elburn, IL, Compass Surveying of Aurora, IL and Culligan Tri-City of Geneva, IL.
A harvest of labor and good deeds will continue into the fall as the last seven Eagle Scout projects for 2012 will be completed. From building painting at both farmsteads, savanna and prairie restoration, to fencing in a new ox pasture, and building and/or refinishing museum benches and tables, Eagle Scout candidates and their volunteers help the museum accomplish more than expected.
Visitors to Harvest Days can witness this progress and share the discovery of how America was built by our first settlers. Tours of the 1846 inn, up close meetings with the farms oxen and other historic breeds can be topped of with laughter and music as Reid Miller entertains with his tall tales. Inglenook Pantry will have lunch and refreshments available and the museums volunteer bakers will offer baked goods in the Farmers Market. Hikes on the prairie can walk off all that good comfort food.
Most notable is the offering of an ongoing archaeological investigation that visitors can see up close. Garfield Farm Museum is the only historic farm site with a long term archaeological research plan open to volunteers. James Yingst of Heartland Archaeological Research Program is the principal investigator.
Donations for Harvest Days are $6 for adults and $3 for children under twelve. Garfield Farm Museum is the only historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored by donors and volunteers as an 1840s working farm museum. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.