Fermilab History and Archives Project

Pahnke/Frieders Farm: Site 17

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Pahnke/Frieders Family History

Fred W. and Albertine (Miller) Pahnke were born in Germany. Fred was born in 1849 and both families immigrated to the United States around 1871. In 1871, the Chicago Fire had burned much of the city to the ground and Fred’s first job in America was cleaning up after the fire. He went to Chicago where he knew there would be a demand for carpenters. After spending two years in the city, Fred moved to Batavia, where he built and repaired wagons for Newton Wagon Co. for fifteen years. Soon after moving there, he met Albertine and they were married in 1875. They had three children, Alfred, Fred C., and Minnie. Alfred was born in Winfield Township in 1880, his sister, Minnie, in 1882, and his brother Fred C., in 1886. In 1909, Albertine passed away. The following year, Fred W. married Albertine’s sister, Hannah. Fred W. purchased 62 acres of timber and swamp land in Winfield Township, and cleared an area to begin building a house. Over time, Fred cleared more of the timber, erected new buildings, and bought more land. In 1899, he bought five acres across the road and the next year, an additional sixty-four acres, bringing his total property size to about 141 acres.  Then, in 1903, he tiled and drained his land, which improved his farm’s nutrient-rich soil to yield a large amount of healthy crops. The farm was a dairy farm, and the Pahnkes also grew corn, oats, barley, and wheat.            

Young Alfred Pahnke attended district school and spent some time at the German Lutheran School in West Chicago. In 1910, he and Fred C. took care of the family farm and Minnie kept house. In 1912, Alfred married Katherine Krause, the daughter of Otto Krause of sites 54, 55 and 56. They had four children: Evelyn in 1915, Harold in 1918, and twin sons, Melvin and Elvin, in 1923. Alfred’s brother, Fred C., married Esther Raddant in 1910, daughter of Fred and Henrietta (Plantz) Raddant.  The Pahnke family owned and operated the farmland until 1960 when they sold it to Phillip Frieders and moved to Arizona. Evelyn Pahnke Wahl lived on Locust Street in Batavia until her death in 2001.  

The Frieders family had lived on the land since 1951. Phillip was born in 1908, one of eight children born to John Frieders and Angeline Kramer. Phillip married Antoinette Reckinger in 1935 and they had three children: Geraldine, Rose Mary, and Charles. They raised sheep, pigs, cattle, horses, chickens, and geese, and also grew corn, beans, hay, and oats. When the Frieders family moved from the NAL site in 1969, they relocated the family farmhouse to Cleveland Street in Batavia and purchased a new farm in Elburn. Some years later they moved back to their Batavia farmhouse after selling their Elburn farm. Charles Frieders lives in Belvidere, IL.


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Frieders Barn Frieders House Frieders House

Farm Families

Farm Families