Preserving Glenview’s Farming Heritage

This 18.6 acre farm, owned by the Glenview Park District, is the last remnant of a much larger farm which was owned and farmed by members of the Wagner family since their arrival in this area from Trier, Germany in the 1850s.

In 1997, Rose Wagner, the last surviving member of the Glenview Wagner family, died. Her will directed Glenview State Bank, the trustee for her estate, to sell the farm to the highest bidder with the proceeds to benefit her family parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Glenview. A group of local citizens approached the park district and asked the district to buy the farm and preserve it as an historic working farm for the education and enjoyment of the community. With citizen support, a referendum to approve funds to pay for the farm was approved by the voters in 1998 and the park district purchased the farm in 2000.

The park district, assisted by representatives from the community, embarked on a master planning process to set guidelines regarding the future uses and development of the farm. Guided by this master plan, the park district has repaired and restored the barn and farmhouse, added chickens and pigs to the farm’s livestock, and introduced a number of programs and events to allow the public to experience the farm. Aided by the energetic fundraising assistance of the Friends of Wagner Farm, the park district constructed and opened the Historic Wagner Farm Heritage Center Museum in 2006.

Today, the Historic Wagner Farm represents one of the historic and educational jewels of the North Shore community. In 2007, the farm had over 54,000 visitors. Also in 2007, the Historic Wagner Farm became home to the Glenview Farmer’s Market. Popularity of the market grew as a result of its move to the farm drawing over 16,000 customers that first summer. The staff at the Historic Wagner Farm continues to design and incorporate fascinating new programs and events to provide visitors with a taste of farm life from the past and educate them on the important role farming plays in all our lives today.