Just a short drive from Vital Wellness Center in the city of Elburn, Illinois, Garfield Farm Museum is a 366 acre farmstead and former 1840s teamster inn located 40 miles west of Chicago and five miles west of Geneva, IL. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and includes 45 acres of wetlands, savanna, and prairie that also features the unplowed Mill Creek prairie, fen, and sedge meadow. The area has never been plowed; it has only been grazed and cut for prairie hay. As mentioned in the 1840 family records, this area is 80 rods west of the house and is constantly flowing with water. It is also a part of the upper Mill Creek watershed that drains into the Fox River.
Sam Culbertson, the first settler of the site, made a claim on the property in 1835, but in 1841, Timothy Garfield bought the claim and converted the log house into an inn. The brick inn was built in 1846 and became the center for community activity, housing hundreds of travelers and teamsters. Although the arrival of the railroads ended the inn-keeping business for the family, they continued to farm the soil. The last Garfield family owner was Elva Ruth Garfield, and she founded the Garfield Farm Museum in 1977 for the purpose of teaching people about America’s great prairie farm heritage.
The Garfield Farm Museum offers visitors a snapshot of the combined farming experiences of the past 150 years with an emphasis on the natural environment that the founders preserved when they settled here. There are over three hundred volunteers that assist in the day-to-day operations of the museum in any given year, and internships are available for those interested. The museum has benefited over 135 Eagle Scout projects, and there is no shortage of volunteer opportunities. The Garfield Harley Ephemeral Pond and Woods was previously owned by the second oldest son, Jefferson Adams Garfield. In 2002, it became part of the Garfield Farm Museum for the preservation of the natural area.