About Garfield Farm Museum
Garfield Farm and Tavern, listed in the National Register of Historic
Sites, is a 374-acre farmstead and former 1840s teamster inn 40 miles west
of Chicago and 5 miles west of Geneva, Illinois. The land was first
settled on July 8, 1835 by Sam and Margret Culbertson of Fairfield
Township, Crawford County, PA. In June 1841, Timothy and Harriet
Garfield of Belmont, Vermont purchased Culbertson's 440 acre claim for
$650. Culbertson's log house was expanded by Garfield as a home and inn.
In 1846 the family moved into the newly built brick inn that became a
center for community activity. It was an inn for hundreds of teamsters and
travelers, a ballroom for jubilant 4th of July Dances, a meeting place,
and a place to drop in for good company and a mug of hard cider.
The coming of the railroads ended the inn-keeping basis for the Garfields, and they continued to till the Kane County soil. The last Garfield family owner, Elva Ruth Garfield, founded the museum in 1977 to teach about America's prairie farm heritage.
The museum brings together the farming experiences of the past 170 years with an appreciation of the natural environment that the Garfields found when they came to Illinois.
Three original 1840's buildings, the 1842 hay and grain barn, the 1849 horse barn and the 1846 inn survive with 3 later day barns (1860 - 1906) on site. Several small sheds for storage and animal housing have been constructed or brought on site.
The organizations' headquarters are located in the once neighboring 1840's Atwell Burr House moved on site in 1991 as a support facility.
The farm, listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, consists of 374 acres includes the second generation's 1859 home and farm buildings located at southeast of Garfield's Inn. There are 55 acres including the 9 acre Garfield Harley Ephemeral Pond and Woods 1.5 miles west, that are being managed as wetlands, savanna and prairie.
Sixteen acres of the 26 acre Mill Creek Prairie and Sedge Meadow were never plowed though grazed and cut for prairie hay. It is described in 1840 family records as 80 rods west of the house constantly flowing with water. Ditching tile on neighboring land later reduced visible surface water creating a scoured out creek channel. It is part of the upper Mill Creek watershed the drains in to the Fox River. In 1998, the museum completed raising $180,000 for its acquisition and perpetual care. Over 1000 households from 20 states contributed to this fund.
Garfield Farm Museum has come as far as it has because of the individuals who recognize the importance of this educational effort. By becoming members, the membership dollars are applied directly to the day to day costs of operations. The membership dues help fund 15 percent of the annual budget. Members receive the Campton Fairfield Crier and the Prairie Messenger, invitations to special events, free tours of the museum and prairie walks. Membership donations are: Individual Membership ($20); Family Membership ($30); Patron Membership ($75); Commercial Patron ($100); Life Membership ($1,000).
$300,000 are being raised to complete restoration of the 1842 hay and grain barn. Membership donations and other contributions should be sent to: Garfield Farm Museum, PO Box 403, LaFox, IL 60147.
Campton Historic Agricultural Lands, Inc. a 501(c)3 non profit land
preservation organization that preserves the agricultural, historic,
natural resources of its properties which include the Timothy Garfield Farm, the Edward Garfield\Mongerson Brothers Farm, and the Garfield Harley
Ephemeral Pond and Woods.
Garfield Heritage Society, Inc., is responsible for the historic interpretation of Garfield Farm Museum. Current GHS board members are Donna Neiler, President (LaFox, IL); Glenn Staron, Vice President (Chicago, IL); Marty Germann, Treasurer (Bristol,IL);, Sue Morton Lloyd, Secretary, (St.Charles, IL); Sue Jacobson (Sugar Grove, IL), Christa Thurman Sala (Geneva, IL).
Jerome M. Johnson is a founding board member and has been Executive Director since 1981. He is a lifelong resident of Campton township, Kane County, and a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a BS and an MA in Biology. He says "conservation of our resources for future generations requires protecting our agricultural resources, our environmental blessings, and the historic fabric of our nation: these are inseparable if future generations are to enjoy what we have been given".
William Wolcott is the Museum Operations Director. He joined the museum
staff in 2008 and has a B.A. in History from Benedictine University. His
experience includes museum curation and facilities management.
David Bauer is a Project Specialist Manager. He has a degree in electrical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and has experience as a computer hardware engineer. Dave began working in 2005.
Joseph Coleman became Assistant Site Manager in 2011 . He graduated from North Central College and learned blacksmithing at Naper Settlement.
Internships are available at the museum.
Over 300 volunteers assist in the operation of the museum in any given year. The museum has benefited from over 100 Eagle Scout projects. A wide range of volunteer opportunities exist.