A peaceful retreat on the Eastern edge of our city, the Greene Valley Forest Preserve features over 1,400 acres of natural space. Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers took a closer look at how this land came to be DuPage County’s fourth largest forest preserve.
Naperville residents with two legs, and four, can all enjoy a trip to Greene Valley Forest Preserve.
Many visitors hike, bike or walk the nearly 12 miles of trails, have a picnic or play fetch in the off-leash dog park.
Dog owner Henriette Rodgers explains, “Well I live in a condo so I don’t have a backyard so this is perfect. And he gets a lot of exercise, meets a lot of nice people, nice dogs. And it’s like a, it’s a nice little community.”
Unique to Greene Valley is the Scenic Overlook, which is the second tallest point in DuPage County.
“What makes that nice is we are in fairly flat areas here in dupage county, and it gives you an opportunity to really get up high and see things from a bird’s eye view,” said Marty Jandura, Senior Ranger for the Forest Preserve.
The Preserve is named after the family who originally owned, lived and farmed the land.
In the mid 1800s, William Briggs Greene acquired 200-acres from his uncle, this property is where he built the Greene family house, named Oak Cottage, and the family’s dairy barn, both of which are still standing to this day.
The Greene family called this property home for over a century.
Herb Nadelhoffer grew up on a neighboring farm, and remembers the family well.
“That oak cottage was there when the first Greenes came from New Hampshire in covered wagons. They call it a cottage not a house because it was sort of built in parts. There was an original part in the middle of it and then it was added on,” said Nadelhoffer.
The Forest Preserve first bought a portion of the land in 1926. Ownership of the final section of land, including the barn and Oak Cottage, was transferred to the Forest Preserve in 1969, after the death of William Bertram Greene, grandson of William Briggs Green.
Nadelhoffer explains, “Bill Greene knew about forest preserves and believed that people needed forest preserves to live in this rural area, into the, where we all live… and I think Bill Greene was very pleased with making the deal with the Forest Preserve to have it used by all the people as a forest preserve.”
Today, Bill Greene’s hope for this land has come to fruition.
“Come out with your dog, or use the trails and hopefully you see something that interests you and branches you off into different directions to get you more interested in outside,” said Jandura.
Recently, the barn was rehabed, along with the silos, which were the first two ever built in DuPage County.
William Bertram Greene wrote four books detailing his time on the farm, available for the public to look through at the Naperville Public Library.
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