New Naperville Subdivision To Take Over Part Of Last Remaining Farmland

Bernie Tafoya
March 08, 2018 - 12:24 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- One of the last remaining pieces of farmland in Naperville is going to be turned into housing. 

The Naperville City Council approved this week a developer's plans to build 61 new houses on the 31-acre site near 103rd and Book Rd. 

The land used to be owned by one of the early settlers to the area, the Clow family, who arrived in the 1840s.

Jennifer Bridge, curator of exhibits and interpretation at Naper Settlement, said there were several branches of the Clow family and several Clow farms.

"The farming community in Naperville goes all the way back to the community’s founding in 1831 when Joseph Naper and his settlement party came to this area. That was one of the things they were looking for. Good farmland," Bridge said.

Bridge said Naperville farms produced wheat at first in the 1830s, but shifted to dairy to serve the needs of a growing city of Chicago.

But in the 1930s, farmers were under hard times as were most Americans because of the Great Depression and other factors, and Bridge said land started to be sold for commercial and residential purposes.

"It used to be that a lot of folks growing up in Naperville had real life farm experience from their relatives farms but now, somebody sees a cow, it’s more than likely at the county fair," she said.

Naper Settlement is raising money to build an agriculture interpretive center.  Jennifer Bridge said fundraising is still underway and ground isn't expected to be broken for another couple of years. 

"It'll have exhibits and hands-on interactives that will help people learn more, not just about the history of farming in the area, but contemporary issues in agriculture," Bridge said.