Fermilab History and Archives Project

Kraft/Turner/Molitor Farm: Site 39 and Site 60

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Kraft/Turner/Molitor Family History

Mathew J. Molitor was born in 1881 and his wife, Anna Kaiser, was born in 1886. The Molitor family’s original homestead was located on Molitor Road in Aurora, a few miles south of the Fermilab site. Matt and Anna were married in 1909 and they had 10 children: Bernadine, Mathew J. Jr., James, Raymond, William, Donald, Esther, Marguerite, Alfred, and Ruth. The Molitors moved to the farm on Batavia Road (site 60) in 1914.

The Molitors’ farm at site 60 was a sizeable farm of about 121 acres. They rented the land from Mr. and Mrs. Everett Kraft. It was a dairy farm, but a number of acres were set aside to grow corn, hay, oats and beans. They had thirty to forty cows, and a number of hogs and chickens. Raymond Molitor and his brothers helped their father with the farm until Matt passed away in 1953. After his father’s death Raymond took over the family farm for a number of years. In 1960 Raymond left his family’s farm on Batavia Road and started a dairy farm in Wisconsin, where he farmed for another ten to fifteen years. A tornado in May, 1967 destroyed the barn and silo on Batavia Road.

The Molitors were good friends with the Kames family who lived just across Batavia-Warrenville Road. Donald Molitor operated his own portable hammer mill for grinding feed. In 1946, he and Donald Kames flew an airplane to Wisconsin to buy feed grinding equipment. On their night flight back, Don Kames mistook a field for the runway and crashed. Sadly, Kames was in a coma for a week and a half and Donald Molitor died.

Leo Molitor, a nephew of Mathew and Anna, lived further west on Batavia Road, at site 39. Leo was born in 1926, the son of Frank L. Molitor (brother of Mathew Molitor) and Catherine Weber. He was one of seven children and took care of the rented farm (owned by Charles Turner) after Frank passed away in 1954.

The State of Illinois purchased both the Kraft and Turner farms in 1969. Leo Molitor made arrangements to lease site 39 until August of 1970 so he could harvest his soybeans. Raymond, however, was farming in Wisconsin at the time, and site 60’s owners, Mr. and Mrs. Kraft, sold the farm while he was away. The house from site 39 was moved to 18 Sauk Circle.

Molitor Farm Molitor Homestead Molitor Farm Bailing Hay on the Molitor Farm Bailing Hay on the Molitor Farm

Farm Families

Farm Families