Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • 200 Rodgers/Schumacher Farmstead

    Alvin (left) and Robert (right) Schumacher 2018 at their boyhood home Fairview Farm now Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. They will be providing narration throughout this tour.

    Welcome to the Rodgers / Schumacher Farmstead

    Walking Tour

    The Rodgers / Schumacher Farmstead is one of two farmsteads in the Iron Bridge Trailhead area that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.*

    Its original development probably dated from the mid-1800s. The first indication we have of structures on the property is an 1873 plat map. The farmstead was continuously used and modified until the Army bought the land for the construction of the Joliet Arsenal in late 1940. 

    This walk will take you through the Schumacher farmyard where foundations of its long-gone structures still exist. This will be a leisurely 1/4 mile loop walk on a mowed grass and gravel path.

    Stopping points are numbered where you can pause and learn a bit about life on their farm. 

    Some of the walk will be on uneven ground. Watch out for tripping hazards. Sturdy shoes are recommended.

     

      

    * The other one is the Morgan Farmstead, on the north side of the access road and the parking lot.

     

    Robert Schumacher speaks about his father Arthur.

    And his mother Verna.

    And his parents' life together.

    Who Were the Rodgers and the Schumachers?

     

    The land was first purchased in 1835 by Elias Reed.

    In 1844 Sophronia Goodenough married Michael Rodgers, and they soon acquired substantial land holdings in Will County, including this parcel. They did not farm all the land themselves but instead leased or, as it was said back then, rented the land to other farmers. On their passing, their daughter Florence inherited the properties. 

    Arthur Schumacher and Verna Redden had been married for 4 years when, in 1921, they leased 200 acres of the Rodgers holdings. The property was called Fairview Farm, and they ran a successful and prosperous dairy farm here for the next 20 years. They also grew corn, sweet clover, red clover, wheat, oats, soy beans and hay, and raised hogs and chickens for sale. During the 1930s, Mr. Schumacher also produced three varieties of clover seeds for sale to meet crop rotation guidelines recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    The Schumachers had 3 children; Erma, Alvin, and Robert, who lived on the farm from their birth until the Army bought the land. From them we have learned much about life on Fairview Farm.

     

    Start your walk from the information bulletin board at the Iron Bridge Trailhead parking lot. Walk south on the gravel path and turn left to sign #1.

     

    Black & white photos provided by Schumacher Family.

    Colored photos provided by Penny Vanderhyden & Ron Kapala.