Fermilab History and Archives Project

Malone Farm: Site 31

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Malone Family History

Mullins HomeThe house at site 31 was bought by Frank Malone in 1936. Frank was an undertaker in Chicago where he, his wife, and nine children (six boys and three girls) lived in a ten-room apartment above a funeral home. Frank had found the farm while driving in the country. He saw it was for sale and bought it from Mr. Pettite for $2,500. The Malones wanted it as a place to take refuge from city life and would spend their summers on the farm and their winters in Chicago. At first, the house had an old cistern, lumber, an old barn, and an old silo, but no running water and no electricity. Eventually they restored the house, added new barns and silos and made the farm their permanent home because their neighborhood on the west side of Chicago was deteriorating.

It was a “gentleman’s farm” on a modest piece of land consisting of about 37 acres. The house and yard covered about an acre of land and the rest was farmland. The Malones would hire a farmer to farm the land and then they would split the product. Frank built a brick, three-car garage with an apartment over it to house the farm’s caretakers. They had many animals: horses, cows, chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, guinea hens, dogs and cats. At one time they had 25 cats because Frank would bring stray cats to the farm from the city. The Malones grew a number of crops over the years such as hay, corn, oats, and beans. They also had apricot, pear, and apple trees. Frank’s mother made all the family’s butter, buttermilk, cottage cheese, canned goods, bread, cookies, and cakes.

There was constant yard and barn work to be done and the children helped from an early age. Sons Wally and Bob occasionally fell asleep with the cows when sent out to milk before school. Besides farming, the Malone children attended Buelter School, a one-room school house just down the road from their house. Later, most of the children attended Batavia High. At one time the Malones had two streetcars hauled out to the farm from Evanston. They were put on cement foundations and used as playhouses for a few years, but were later turned into a chicken/duck coop. The white fencing around the Malone’s property came from a cemetery in Chicago and their swing set and teeter-totter came from a playground in Wheaton. Frank Malone died in 1952 and his family operated a funeral home in Geneva. After the state purchased their land in 1969, the house was moved to 6 Sauk Circle in the Fermilab Village. Mrs. Malone built a home in Campton Hills in St. Charles and later lived in Geneva.

 

Farm Families

Farm Families