Fermilab History and Archives Project

Warne/Kraft/Kuhn Farm: Site 62

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Warne/Kraft/Kuhn Family History

Samuel Warne was one of eleven children of John and Sarah Warne, pioneer settlers of the Big Woods. Samuel built the house and barn in 1893. Mr. Warne owned 304 acres on the north side of Batavia Road including all of the land known as the Village of Weston in 1967.

In 1942, the farm was leased to Ben Brucher. The Bruchers lived here and farmed the land until 1950. Brucher had a herd of 40 cows, raised 200 hogs a year and started each spring with 1000 baby chicks. The house had electricity and a coal furnace but no indoor plumbing until 1943.

Later in the 1940s, the farm was purchased by Mrs. Julia Krafft, the founder of Mrs. Stevens Candy Company in Chicago. From 1950-1967 the house was rented to Robert D. Kuhn, and much of the farmland had been sold to the developer of the Weston subdivision.  When the property was purchased by the state of Illinois in 1968 for the construction of the National Accelerator Laboratory the Kuhn family moved to West Chicago.

In 1969 the house was used for offices of the National Accelerator Laboratory.  The historic 1889 James McKee home from Site 57 on Eola Road was moved and attached to this home in 1971 to convert the buildings into a housing center for visiting scientists. Known as “Aspen East,” this building is the hub of life in the Fermilab Village.

The Kuhn Barn was restored in April 1970 and converted from a dairy barn to a meeting hall for an early Users Meeting.  It is today, as in the past, the center for many community social events including folk dancing, pot luck dinners, barbecues and parties, and the annual Farmers Picnic.

 

MEMORIES FROM THE BRUCHER FAMILY WHO LIVED ON THE "KUHN FARM" FROM 1942 to 1950

My dad, Ben Brucher, agreed to lease the farm, now referred to as the "Kuhn Farm" at the Fermi Lab property in Batavia, late in 1941, about the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on the USA.

The lease started March 1, 1942, and I believe the leaser was Mr. Terrel. The farm was currently being occupied by Mr. And Mrs. Olsen. Mrs. Olsen was very angry that they had to move, for reasons I do not know.

Dad tried to see the farm property before leasing, but when he went to the house Mrs. Olsen would chase him with a broom back to his car. She even hit the car with her broom while he drove away. So the farm house and property were only viewed from the north, off of Wilson St. He then went across the road to meet Herb and Jeanette Anderson. Anderson’s let Dad move farm equipment to their front pasture prior to March 1st. After we moved to the farm, he simply pulled the equipment across the road.

My recollection is that some time during the 1940’s, the farm was sold to Mrs. Stevens of Mrs. Stevens Candy Company in Chicago.

The farm was a little over 300 acres, almost all tillable. Only ten to fifteen acres was low swamp land to the near east of the house and barn. Dad had a dairy herd of about 40 cows, raised 200 hogs a year, and started each spring with 1000 baby chicks.

When we moved to the farm the barn was reconfigured to accommodate the dairy herd and a large concrete cow yard was installed. According to the agreement, a silo was also built and still stands there next to the Fermi Lab social barn. I remember it being one of the largest ones around - sixteen feet in diameter and fifty feet high!

In 1942 the house had electricity and a coal furnace. It did not have running water or inside toilet facilities. Water and plumbing were added in about 1943. There was an electric high wire power line to the west between us and the Molitor farm. Our address at that time was West Chicago. Our phone number was 4178R2, and was an eight party shared line. Needless to say, there were few phone conversations, and then only when absolutely necessary.

In Feb. of 1950, Dad retired from farming because of health issues. It was then that Bob Kuhn rented the farm from 1950 until Fermi Lab was built.

- submitted by Mel Brucher, November 2008

The house was owned for awhile by the Kraft family and in 1967 was being rented to Robert D. Kuhn. The Kuhn family moved to West Chicago.

The house was occupied in 1969 for offices of the National Accelerator Laboratory. The historic 1889 James McKee home from Site 57 on Eola Road was moved and attached to this home in 1971 to convert the buildings for visitor housing.

The Kuhn Barn was restored in April 1970 and converted from a dairy barn to a meeting hall for the first Users Meeting. It is today, as in the past, the center for many community social activities.

DEVELOPMENT OF "ASPEN-EAST" BEGINS

An article from The Village Crier Vol. 3 No. 13, April 1, 1971

Moving Day
Moving Day

Dick Utt and the NAL Construction group took advantage of the minimum day-off traffic Saturday, April 25, 1971 to move the house (shown in the photo below) from the former Hadley Farm on Eola Road to the expanding complex on the former Kuhn Farm, at the corner of Sauk Boulevard and Batavia Road in the NAL Village.

Known informally as "Aspen-East," the facilities are being prepared to help accommodate the NAL Summer Study June 22 to July 24th. The study will be attended by approximately 40 high energy physicists from universities and laboratories throughout the United States, Canada and Switzerland, as well as by NAL physicists.

The Hadley house will be joined by a 26-foot corridor to the Kuhn house, already on the corner location. Directly behind the houses is the newly remodeled meeting hall, formerly the Kuhn Farm barn.

The move was done by the Belding Engineering Company of West Chicago which, according to Utt, has handled the majority of the more than 40 moving projects on the NAL site in the last two years. The Aspen-East facility will be in use for some time, as more and more scientists come from all over the world to participate in the NAL program.

Click on individual photographs for more information.

Aerial view of Kraft / Kuhn farm on Batavia Road, 1952 McKee / Hadley / Brummel / Wolsfeld home on Eola Road, 1968 Kraft / Kuhn homestead on Batavia Road, 1968
Aspen East, formerly the Kuhn farmhouse (site 62), with the 1971 addition of the Hadley-Wolsfeld house (site 57) from Eola Rd    

Farm Families

Farm Families