Fall Festival honors harvest season and Kendall history

By Cathy Janek For Chronicle Media

Longtime Kendall County Historical Society volunteer Jack Jenkins drives tractor across parking lot at Lyon Farm. (Photo by Cathy Janek/for Chronicle Media)

The “pride and joy” of the Kendall County Historical Society, Lyon Farm in Yorkville, will open up to the community for its 45th Annual Fall Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29.

Encompassing 39 acres of land, historical buildings from around the county have been carefully relocated to the farm over the years setting the stage for an era that has long past Kendall County.

With hayrides that travel out to the farm’s acreage, children’s games, a harvest wagon, and antique tractors, cars, and trucks on display, there will be something for everyone, according to Janet Seego, a member of the Kendall County Historical Society.

She added, the event will feature the bluegrass group, The Templetons, on Saturday and an antique car show on Sunday.

About 25 crafters will be on hand selling items such “pallet creations, jewelry, customized teddy bears, and candles,” she said.

There also will be demonstrations of working vintage sewing machines and quilt making, Seego added.

“Antique farm demonstrations will take place including a demonstration of a large steam engine,” she said.

Lyon Farm was donated to the historical society in 1974 by Frances Lyon.

Old kitchen stove and other commonly used household items recently donated to Lyon Farm by a local Naperville family. (Photo by Cathy Janek/for Chronicle Media)

Jack Jenkins, the former long-time president of the Kendall County Historical Society, said if Frances had died prior to her husband Elmer the farm, which was a center for horse breeding, probably would have been sold and not donated.

Instead, he said, “Frances had been in a retirement home in Pennsylvania and one of the board members at the time drove out there for her to sign papers turning over the property to the historical society.”

The Kendall County Historical Society was chartered in 1970 with a goal of preserving the history of Kendall County.

For Jenkins and his wife Cathy, volunteering at the farm has been a long-term passion for the couple who have devoted more than 30 years to its maintenance and growth.

Today, the property includes a number of buildings that have been restored thanks to the financial contributions of local residents.

The C.B. & Q Caboose which was moved to Lyon Farm in 1974 and recently repainted and the Plano Depot. The Depot was used until approximately 1915.  It was moved to Lyon Farm in 1978. (Photo by Cathy Janek/for Chronicle Media)

The buildings on the property include the Oswego House, a two-story frame house that was the first house built in Oswego, the one-room Union School from Na-Au-Say Township, the Corrigan Brothers General Store and post office from Plattville, the C. B. & Q (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy) Railroad Depot from Plano, and the old Bristol-Kendall Fire Department Firehouse.

Since 2011, the property includes the Herman Hanouw Museum that showcases many local artifacts including uniforms of Kendall County servicemen and women, memorabilia from county schools, and a bed handmade by Fielding Edmund Hanks, an uncle of Abraham Lincoln.

Jenkins explained he is frequently contacted from families of former local farmers who are seeking a new home for farming equipment and other household items that were passed down to them.

The museum also houses an extensive archive and records library that includes church records, scrapbooks, photographs, maps, cemetery records, veterans’ records, recipes, and other miscellaneous materials all housed in acid free boxes, Jenkins added.

“The public is welcome to come and do research,” he said.

Oswego House was the first house built in Oswego in the 1870s by the Fox Family.  It was relocated to Lyon Farm in 1975. (Photo by Cathy Janek/for Chronicle Media)

The Kendall County Historical Society relies solely on volunteers and does not receive funding from a government agency,  Jenkins added.

With about 200 lifetime members, Jenkins said, some who have passed away, the organization is always in need of volunteers who are interested in working on the farm or maintaining the historical society’s extensive artifacts and records.

The proceeds from the fall festival will go to maintaining the farm and supporting the Kendall County Historical Society, according to Jenkins.

The farm also hosts similar events for Halloween and Christmas.



Saturday, Sept.  28 and Sunday, Sept. 29

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lyon Farm

7935 IL-71, Yorkville.

Admission  $5 person ages 13 and older, $3 children between three and twelve, children under 2 free. No credit or debit cards accepted.