32nd Garfield Farm Museum to host its 32nd award ceremony May 12

  • Garfield Farm Museum will recognized four preservation endeavors at the 32nd annual awards ceremony at the historic Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne.

    Garfield Farm Museum will recognized four preservation endeavors at the 32nd annual awards ceremony at the historic Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne. Courtesy of Garfield Farm Museum

Posted5/9/2023 12:57 PM

On Friday, May 12, Garfield Farm Museum in Campton Hills will recognize four preservation endeavors at its 32nd awards ceremony at the historic Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne.

The award winners cover several individuals and organizations that contributed over the last four years to environmental and/or historic preservation as the pandemic curtailed this annual event from 2020 to 2022. Each effort is an excellent example of initiative that is the hallmark quality of many of the past award recipients.


Although it is the most recent success story in regional environmental preservation, Citizens for Conservation of Barrington was first recognized at the museum's 1990 awards dinner. Founded in 1971, the nonprofit organization truly reflects the power of individuals to come together to save, protect, and restore the environment.

Since inception the organization has acquired over 777 acres with the most recent being over 230 acres of Hill N' Dale South Farm property that the Duchossois family owned. Passersby have long admired this beautiful horse property with its landmark white fencing paralleling West County Line Road just west of downtown Barrington.

Thanks to the incredible efforts of the CFC, its supporters and the cooperation of the Duchossois family, the white fence will now demarcate a future prairie and wetlands restoration which includes over 4,060 linear feet of the high-quality Spring Creek, a Fox River tributary. For its incredible 52-year record of land preservation, natural area restoration and education, the CFC is being awarded a GFM Environmental Preservation Award. Further kudos goes to the Duchossois family as their cooperation and willingness to see the land preserved that sets an example to all and thus are being awarded an Environmental Preservation Award.

If money were simply the answer to all preservation efforts, much more important resources -- environmental, historic or agricultural would be protected. Yet as any seasoned preservationist knows, it is a question of having the ability, the right timing and willingness of an owner to see the asset preserved. This not true of many property owners and there is a special vision about those who are willing to see their property preserved for future generations. The museum established the Campton Cooperators for Conservation Award to recognize just such individuals. Three property owners in Campton Hills have since 2019 have sold their holdings to Campton Township Open Space Program or the Kane County Forest Preserve District.

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At the April 2019 Awards, the fate of the c. 1850 White School House on the historic Daniel Whitney property seemed predetermined for a relocation to a township property. Such a move would further sacrifice the historic integrity of the building as it had already through remodeling as a residence, lost its interior school features.

Just two months later, Campton Township Open Space Plan came to a much better solution that with the Art Gustafson Family's cooperation, Campton was able to buy the 6.5 acres that included the 1890s brick Whitney house and outbuildings. Located adjacent to the historic hamlet of Wasco, it further preserves a community that Campton residents so highly value. A Garfield Farm Museum Historic Preservation Award is given to Campton Township and the Art Gustafson family will be recognized with a Cooperator for Campton's Conservation Award.

Wasco, the historic center of the village of Campton Hills, also benefited from the cooperation of the family of late Leonard and Adele Hawkins who sold their 60 acres at the west side of Wasco to the Kane County Forest Preserve in 2019. Just this year, at the northeast edge of Campton Hills, the family of the late Aubrey Neville, are selling 50 acres adjoining existing Kane County Forest Preserve property. Neville had planted prairie on part of the property that includes woods along Stoney Creek. Both families will receive Garfield Farm Museum Cooperators of Conservation Awards.

The Garfield Farm Museum Awards were established in 1989 to recognize other entities that share at least one of the three inseparable themes of the museum: history, farming and nature. Making people aware of others' efforts encourages more people to participate in preserving this country's strengths in their own backyard.


The museum's awards are held at the former Oak Lawn Farm, one of the world's largest draft horse breeding facilities in the world in the late 1800s. It survives in part as the Dunham Woods Riding Club that consists of 40 acres, several historic barns, and the late 1830s Solomon Dunham farmhouse converted to a clubhouse.

The historic Dunham farm setting is the perfect venue for museum's awards evening as the late Jane Dunham was a very generous supporter of Garfield Farm.

After the awards, a review of the progress toward the 2027 50th Anniversary $4 million Bucket List goal to complete museum facilities will be given.

May 12 is also the 46th anniversary of the museum's establishment of the nonprofit operating organization, Garfield Heritage Society. Evelyn S. Johnson of Campton Hills, Jane B. Sindt of Naperville, George Keyser of St. Charles and Linda Chapin of Campton Hills were the founding board members.

Garfield Farm Museum is located on Garfield Road, off Route 38, 5 miles west of Geneva. Garfield Farm is a former historically intact 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn that is being restored as a working 1840s farm.

For information, contact (630) 584-8485 or info@garfieldfarm.org. Visit www.garfieldfarm.org or facebook.com/GarfieldFarmMuseum/.

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