ParkTalk Podcast - Remembering Fairlane Farms

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Naperville resident Dick Kuhn shares stories from Fairlane Farms, where his family raised horses. Fairlane Farms Park will be developed in 2024 along with Polo Club Park as part of the new Polo Club subdivision and is named in honor of this farm that brought polo to Naperville and is part of the farming and equestrian heritage of our community.

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Steve (Dick's brother) with their parents, Shirley and Walt Kuhn, and their dalmation, Willie, at Fairlane Farms, 1968

Quote from the episode:

"Each of my siblings and I were assigned roughly 12-15 head to feed after school and clean the stalls. One summer we cared for 120 head and had to bale 20,000 bales of hay and we rented 5 barns in the Naperville area. So, after school, the first thing was to get in the pickup truck, take a couple buddies, get the load of hay for the night and we fed the entire load that night to the horses. We always made it fun. A lot of kids from town, our friends, would come to our farm and my dad would welcome them. Have fun but put them to work - kind of a Tom Sawyer type of thing. And we just had the greatest time, with hayrides, with hooking up a scoop shovel with a rope to a horse and pulling it through the snow..."
-Dick Kuhn

The Kuhn boys with their horses (L to R): Dick on Cheyenne, Dan on Honey Child, Steve on Champ and John on Big Red. Photo taken in 1959 at the Naperville Saddle Club in its original location, which is now the home of the Knoch Park tennis courts near Naperville Central High School.

Dick Kuhn's parents, Walter and Shirley, taught riding and polo to many kids and adults in Naperville, first at Fairlane Farms, just south of Hobson Road, and later at 119th Street and Route 59, which was known as the Polo Club. Their children grew up with horses and continued helping with riding and polo lessons through their college years and beyond.

Kuhn Family (Walter and Shirley with Steve, John and Cathy), 1966

Fairlane Farms Park - Coming in 2024

In 2024, the Naperville Park District will add two new parks at the new Polo Club housing development that are being dedicated to the District as part of the Naperville Land Cash Ordinance, which requires developers to contribute either park land or the equivalent cash to provide parks for the new residents. One will be called Polo Club Park and the other Fairlane Farms Park, in honor of the tradition of caring for and enjoying horses that is part of Naperville's history.

(Above): Top photo: Clydesdale horses in a Naperville parade in 1989; Bottom photo: President of the Naperville Saddle Club with Walter Kuhn and his dog, Candy,  in a Naperville parade, 1963.

Clydesdale horses in a Naperville Last Fling Parade, 2016