My Visit to an 1890s Living History Museum and Farm

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Mon Sep 20, 2021

Having been in Chicago for just over a month, I was starting to think that the United States is all about these amazing glass structures and chaotic city traffic. I was fascinated when I got to visit an 1890s farm in the suburb of Wheaton, Illinois. Thanks to Bridges International for taking us on a super awesome field trip to this living museum.

On September 11, 2021, at 09:45 a.m., we gathered in front of the IIT Tower, located on South State Street. Though the group was small, our energies were high. We then went to board the Green Line CTA at the 35th Bronzeville-IIT station. Luckily, the train arrived on time. The train was headed to Harlem/Lake through the scenic downtown of the Windy City.

We had to get off at Clinton and transfer to a Metra train at the Ogilvie Transportation Center (OTC) also known as Accenture Tower.

The journey in Metra was smooth and different. We exited the busy downtown and passed through many suburbs. The seats were spacious and separate, so it was easy to follow all COVID-19 protocols. After about an hour, passing by the greeneries and highways, we reached Wheaton, Illinois. 

We were welcomed by the host and a couple of friends from Bridges International. On completing our lunch, we headed with the volunteers to the Kline Creek Farm. It is a living history museum (as per Google). It is a museum indeed, it felt like I had traveled back in time to an era where there weren’t any light bulbs and electricity. The calm surrounding and lush farmlands is a treat for your eyes. I roamed about asking various questions and the people who were taking care of the farm were really sweet to explain everything. To show how farming and living was in the 1890s, they even wore outfits from 1890. 

There was also a demonstration of how tomatoes were harvested, ground into a sauce, and preserved through winters. That was the first time I had witnessed how ketchup was made back in the days.

Finally, we were taken on a guided tour around the mansion which was located on the farm, and the guide went on to explain how the people who took care of the farm used to live there. There were a lot of antiques and vintage products, there was even a wooden refrigerator that was used to keep food items safe and cool (it did not use any electricity). As we were running out of time, we had to leave by the middle of the tour. We then sped to catch the Metra that was leaving Wheaton at 4:00 p.m. headed to Chicago (the next one was scheduled two hours from then).

It was a great field trip on whole. Though many could not join us on that day, it was fun after all. I definitely would love to go to the suburbs once again, if given the opportunity. I also encourage everyone to keep an eye out for such trips that are organized by the lovely people from bridges international regularly.

 

 

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2021 - Fall - Issue 3
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