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Learn About Historic Shoes at Garfield Farm Museum Oct. 16

CAMPTON HILLS, IL-    On Sunday, October 16th at 2pm, museum volunteer, Norman Walzer, will give a lecture on the history of shoe and boot styles from the 1770s to the Civil War. A collection of 30-40 slides of shoes from Europe and the United States will form the basis for the presentation. The slides are documented from visits to museums or professional literature on footwear.

    The presentation will include reproductions of shoes/boots and wallets from the 1830s-1850 as well as examples of pre-Civil War shoemaking and harness making tools. However, the discussions will not focus on footwear specific to Garfield Farms. A discussion of the steps involved in shoe and/or boot making will be included as well. Topics such as “were there rights and lefts?”; “what are those little wooden pegs made of?”; “did black leather come from black cows?” and other commonly asked questions will be addressed.

    Norman Walzer collects leatherworking and shoe-making tools and has made 1820s-1850s boots and shoes for more than 15 years. He has attended workshops at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and has visited several major museums with large shoe collections such as the BATA Museum in Toronto and the Steamboat Arabia in Kansas City. He has been a volunteer interpreter on shoe-boot making at Lincoln's New Salem Historic Site since the early 1970s and periodically teaches shoe and wallet-making to volunteers. He has also served on the Board of the Honourable Cordwainers' Company, an international Guild of shoemakers interested in historical practices and techniques.

    The cost of the lecture is $6 and refreshments are included.  For reservations, contact the museum at (630) 584-8485 or Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL, off of ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road. The 370-acre site is a historically intact former 1840s farm and teamster inn being restored as an 1840s working farm museum by volunteers and donors from around the country.

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