Garfield Farm's Oct. 1 Harvest Days Celebrates Museum's 40th Anniversary

Garfield Farm’s Oct. 1 Harvest Days Celebrates Museum’s 40th Anniversary

Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, is a big day for Garfield Farm Museum and a fantastic opportunity to show your kids what life on the farm was like more than 180 years ago.

On that Sunday, Garfield Farm Museum will celebrate the the 40th anniversary of the museum’s founding, hold the 36th annual Harvest Days, and with a little fanfare and cake, publicly dedicate the long-anticipated completion of the 1842 hay and grain.

You, of course, are invited to be a part of the festivities.

Harvest Days takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Garfield Farm Museum, located west of Geneva, off IL Route 38 on Garfield Road in Campton Hills. The public dedication of the hay and grain barn is set for 1:30 p.m.

Also featured will be the just three-week-old archaeological discovery of a second cellar that belonged to the 1835 log house built by Sam Culbertson and added onto by the Timothy Garfield in 1841 as a home and tavern. Archaeologist James Yingst will be on hand to explain how these cellars provide the directional orientation of the once 50-foot-long structure that stood in the former fork of the Chicago-St.Charles–Sycamore-and-Oregon Roads.

Appropriately commemorating the day will also be the appearance of Adam Gibbons, author of the two-volume, 750 page An Illustrated History of Campton Township. Gibbons’ work documents many of the settlers of Campton township, their activities, and outcomes. Gibbons will sign his tome for individuals to purchase.

Author Ann Brack will be interpreting the 1846 tavern and copies of her children’s chapter book Angie of Garfield Farm will be available.

Harvest Days is a chance to consider and experience a young northern Illinois, when hints of its great agricultural future first appeared. As the fascination of modern technology has eclipsed and taken for granted the life-giving rich soils of Illinois, Harvest Days is a chance to reflect on what is actually a very rare resource worldwide. Only the Ukraine, South Africa, and Thailand contain comparable soils.

Garfield Farm & Tavern Museum exists because of an unyielding 40-year effort by volunteers and donors to save and preserve the historically intact former 1840s farmstead and inn as a living history farm museum. The activities at Harvest Day reflect how such farms depended on the rich fertile prairie lands, the skills of yeoman farmers who moved from northeastern U.S. to northern Illinois, and the early but vital transportation network that delivered wheat by wagon to the port of Chicago which was by the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal shipped worldwide beginning in 1838.

Harvest Days is an excellent time to see the progress at the museum, experience the work and skills it took to live on an 1840s farmstead, and walk amongst towering prairie grasses and flowers that once spread across vast acreages of a young Illinois.

It is also a time to discover the people of Garfield Farm who have consistently stepped forward over several generations to help preserve and interpret the farm for its students and family visitors. As always, a school day is offered for students the Friday before, this year from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 29. More than seven schools and homeschools have reserved for the day.

Visitors will experience the pre-railroad era when oxen dominated in the fields and hand tools were used to fail and winnow the wheat, harvest and shell the corn, press cider, and tend the gardens. The tours of the 1846 tavern reveal life on the road travelled by horse and wagon and just a day on the farm reconnects the visitor to the land and countryside.

Refreshments and food will be offered by Inglenook Pantry, and the museum’s volunteer bakers will have their best efforts available at the museum’s Farmer’s Market and Bakery up in the Atwell Burr House.

There is a $6 donation for adults and $3 for children under 13 years of age. For information call 630 584-8485 or email

Harvest Days 2017

  • When: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Oct. 1
  • Who: Garfield Farm Museum
  • Where: for GPS only: 3N016 Garfield Road Campton Hills, IL 60175
  • Cost: $6 adults, $3 children age 12 and under
  • Contact: 630 584-8485 or