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S18 Episode 03: Life on the Wolf Farm

Guests Ginny Wolf Chivas, Jerry Kuhn and Ed Kuhn recall life on Ginny’s grandparents’ farm in the 1950s and 60s in Naperville. The conversation touches on some of the themes from an interpretive sign that will honor Naperville’s farming history at Wolf’s Crossing Community Park, a new park under construction in 2020.

This episode is part of Series 18: Remembering our Agricultural Heritage.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit https://www.napervilleparks.org/PODCASTS.  

Quotes from the episode: “In those days, nobody did anything by themselves. Either you had a big family, so they could help out in that way, or you had neighbors. Neighbors and relatives were always getting together to make life a little easier for everybody.” -Jerry Kuhn


Ed Kuhn, Sr. and his youngest  son, Chuck   This and all photos and images in this post are courtesy of the Kuhn family.

“When we get together with family and cousins, we all talk about how fortunate we were to grow up when and where we did. It was a great place to learn, to live, to enjoy, to learn how to value people and how to value God’s creations.”
 –Ed Kuhn, Jr.

One of the summer picnics hosted by the Kuhns. Ed Sr. is on the left and Jerry Kuhn is third from left.

“A visit to the farm was a delight I looked forward to. During the summer, if it was early evening, I’d get to play with the Kuhn kids out in the field, catching fireflies, while the grownups were chatting and relaxing up on the front porch.” 
-Ginny Wolf Chivas

Jerry and Ed recall the flowers that decorated the house and barn.

Aerial view of the Wolf Farm along Rt. 59.

Ginny’s grandparents’ dairy farm was on 203 acres of land from Route 59 to Fort Hill Drive, bordered by the Burlington Northern railroad tracks on the north and Aurora Avenue on the south. Ed Kuhn, Sr. and his wife, Ann, lived and worked on the farm from 1952-1972. Their five children included Dave, Karen, Jerry, Ed Jr. and Chuck. Ginny’s family lived in town and enjoyed visiting the farm. 

Ed and Ann Kuhn, circa 1963.

In addition to farming, Jerry and Ed’s father, Ed Kuhn was one of the first employees of the Naperville Park District, hired in 1969 shortly after the Park District began operations. He retired from the Park District in 1975. He is in the front row, last on the right.

This news article from the Naperville Sun gives another example of the way in which farmers helped each other when someone was sick or injured. It also recounts the opening of the Nabisco plant in 1968, which was visible from the Wolf Farm.

 

Nabisco Plant, view from the Wolf Farm in 1967.

Calligraphy by Ed and Jerry’s sister, Karen


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