Fermilab History and Archives Project

Giese Farm: Site 66 and Site 67

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Giese Family History

William M. Giese was born in Prussia, Germany (Poland) in 1858. In 1881, he married Wilhelmina Hett (daughter of Carl and Henrietta Fredericka) before immigrating to America the following year. In 1883, William sent for his parents and two brothers who came and joined him in America. William and Wilhelmina had three sons, William A., born March 28, 1883; Henry Charles, born December 30, 1884; and Paul Ernest, born May 15, 1886.

William Sr. first found work in West Chicago as a section hand on the Northwestern Railroad. Soon after, he rented a farm in Geneseo Township, Kane County, and then another in the area of West Chicago. Fourteen years later, in 1900, he bought the 180-acre farmland in Winfield Township along Wilson Road. He moved to the property in 1904 and the next year he built a new brick house. He had already built a corn crib in 1903 and a cow barn in 1904. Later, in 1909, he built a granary.  His dairy farm had thirty cows. Mr. Giese was an excellent farmer who took advantage of various improvements in farming methods and benefitted from them. 

William A. inherited the Giese house at Site 66 from his father, while his brother, Henry C., bought the land across the street at site 67. Combined, both sites had around 180 acres of land. The Gieses built Henry’s house around 1915, it being almost identical to his childhood home at site 66. Besides farming, Henry sold insurance. In 1914 he married Margaret and they had two sons, Harvey and Henry Jr., who later owned the house. Henry Jr. married Rosalind Feldott of site 51 in 1944. The tornado of 1961 passed through their back yard, destroying their tool shed on its way west along Wilson Road. Harvey married Vera in 1934 and they had five children. During WWII, Harvey worked at Pullman Aircraft as a riveting foreman, making wings for B29 bombers. Later he became a business man in St. Charles and lived in Geneva.

The Giese families all attended the German Congregational Church in West Chicago. Giese Road on the Fermilab site is named after the family. The house at site 66 was moved to site 52 and preserved.

Farm Families

Farm Families