Garfield Farm and Tavern

The Garfield Farm and Inn Museum is a Registered Historic Place in Kane County, Illinois, USA. The property is a 380-acre (1.5 km2) farmstead, centered around an inn that served teamsters and the nearby community during the 1840s. It is currently a museum offering a variety of educational and entertainment events. The buildings that remain are three original 1840's structures, including the 1842 hay and grain barn, the 1849 horse barn, and the 1846 inn. Various other barns and outbuildings also stand, the last dated to 1906.


T. P. Garfield was a surveyor that purchased a 440 acres (180 ha) lot west of the Fox River in 1841. He farmed corn, wheat, hay, oats, livestock, and dairy. He also operated one building as a tavern to serve guests traveling between Chicago and the Rock River Valley. A westbound stagecoach and mail coach routinely passed the tavern at 4 P.M., and the tavern provided an overnight resting spot for travelers. The Garfield family charged each traveler 37 and a half cents to stay the night, and as many as 64 guests would use the facilities at once. The Garfield farm also became a popular local meeting place, holding monthly dances on Saturdays on the second floor of the tavern. Live music was hired for these events, which attracted as many as 100 couples at once.

Eventually, the farm focused on raising cattle and growing grain products. Elva Ruth Garfield donated the farm in 1978 to the local park district to become a museum. Many furnishings from the tavern were conserved starting in 1901. The Garfield Farm and Tavern received recognition by the United States Department of the Interior as a Historic Place on June 23, 1978.


Fourteen buildings form the Garfield Farm and Tavern on 237 acres (96 ha). It is bordered by Campton Hills Drive to the north and Illinois Route 38 to the south, accessed via Garfield Road. The Garfield Cemetery also lies along Garfield Road, used mostly by Garfield family descendents. The tavern and house building was built by T. P. Garfield in 1846. The house was a red brick neoclassical with Federal Style details. The 2 1⁄2-story structure has a center door with sidelights and 2-over-2 windows (originally 12 over 8). Inside, a center hall has two rooms to the right (the ladies' parlor and a bar, one room to the left (dining room), and one to the rear (a bedroom). The center hall on the second hall has a staircase leading to the third. The rear of this floor was used as a ballroom, and three other rooms were used as bedrooms. The third floor had a bedroom on either side of the center hall and storage. The first floor dining room had stairs leading to the basement, which was 8 feet (2.4 m) deep. The tavern annex is one and a half stories, measuring 20 by 28 square feet (1.9 × 2.6 m2). It was used as a kitchen with a storage room for firewood, grain, equipment, and laundry. An 8 by 14 square feet (0.74 × 1.3 m2) recessed porch has half columns on its ends. The southeast wall had a brick chimney for use as a stove for the kitchen.

Four barns are standing on the grounds; the 1842 hay barn is 44 by 32 square feet (4.1 × 3.0 m2), the 1849 horse barn is 28 by 52 square feet (2.6 × 4.8 m2), the c. 1895 grain barn is 34 by 28.5 square feet (3.2 × 2.65 m2), and the 1908 dairy barn is 34 by 84 square feet (3.2 × 7.8 m2). A carriage house retains its historical integrity aside from a cement floor added in 1949. A small chicken house was built sometime after 1900, and a larger, six-sided chicken house was built in the 1930s. The milk house was built between 1900 and 1920 with cement blocks and four windows. The cement silo rises 50 feet (15 m) high with an 18 feet (5.5 m) diameter. In 1908, a windmill was built to provide water for the farm and tavern. A cistern was built in the crawlspace under the kitchen of the house in 1841. A 30 foot (9.1 m) deep dug water well provides groundwater, and an outhouse also stands on the property.

Building Activity

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