Fermilab History and Archives Project

Heitkotter/Miller Farm: Site 49

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Heitkotter/Miller Family History

The 1862 Map of DuPage County shows this property within the holdings of S. Wood. The Heitkotter farmhouse dates back to 1910. John and Theresa (Kames) Heitkotter purchased the farm from the estate of her father, M. Anthony Kames, in 1935. The Heitkotters lived in Aurora and rented the farm to family or tenant farmers, often neighbors farming “down the road.” The total property of this farm was 90 acres, which supported a milking herd of 34 cows. Their crops included corn, oats, and hay. The farm also raised pigs and had a large vegetable garden.

Theresa’s brother, Joseph Kames, operated the farm from 1935-40. Walter Miller of Batavia ran the farm from 1940-49. Arthur Hubbard operated it from 1949-60. Walter’s brother, Milton Miller, took it over from 1960 until April 1969 when John Heitkotter sold the property to the state of Illinois. Milton and his son, Merton, leased this farm property from NAL until 1972. These farmers were all a part of the local community helping each other, and caring for the land and their neighbors.

The tornado of September 1961 gathered over this farm in view of Fermilab fireman Rod Oxe, then a teenager helping his uncle, Milton Miller, in the field. He watched the storm move down Old Batavia Road to Roger Bartelt’s farm. After doing extensive damage to the Bartelts’ home, the twister then skipped down to John Fitzgerald’s farm and destroyed his barn, killing most of his livestock. Rod, and the Millers, were spared.

The Heitkotter house from Site 49 was moved from Old Batavia Road to #1 Sauk Circle.

Rod Oxe's Memories of the Tornado of 1961

Farm Families

Farm Families