Naper Settlement has a new addition that’s small in size, but big in history.
Meet the milk house. First built as part of Naperville’s Maple Knoll Dairy Farm in the early 1900s, it found continued use by the Case family when they took ownership of the farm in the 1930’s.
John Case played an important part in farming both here in Naperville, and on a wider scale. He helped unite dairy farms to create cooperative dairy farming. And a key component of keeping that dairy fresh before its final distribution was the milk house. It’s a history lesson the settlement can now both show, and tell.
“Naperville was very much a dairying community in its early history,” shares Naper Settlement’s curator of collections, Louise Howard. “And even later into the 20th century. So it really speaks to a big part of that part of Naperville’s farming history.”
Donated by Case Grandchildren:
The milk house came to the settlement by way of a truck – carefully moved from its location near I-88 after being donated by 10 of Case’s grandchildren.
“I think being able to tell John and Esther Case’s story and now to be able to have their descendants be able to see this in place here is just one of those important family narratives that we love to tell here at Naper Settlement,” said the settlement’s VP and Chief Program Officer Donna Sack.
Furthers Settlement’s Mission:
It’s just one more piece in the growing number of farm artifacts on the museum’s campus. And it will lend itself to a modern addition already in the works – the Agricultural Interpretive Center.
“The importance of dairying to Naperville cannot be understated,” said Sack. “So for us to be offered this structure as a way of telling that part of Naperville’s agricultural history and story and the story of it’s people is just – can’t put a price tag on that,”
The milk house is the first building relocated to the settlement in 36 years. Visitors will be able to check it out starting this April.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal and Kim Pirc report.
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