The museum is now open to the public, pre-registration is required.
Lake County was part of McHenry County until 1839. There are still many working barns in the Lake County and McHenry area and some were captured by photographer John Rouse.
Originally collected by the Lake County Heritage Farm Foundation, LCHFF was founded in 2001 by local businessmen Ray Rockenbach and Bill Schroeder, both who were born on local family farms, and shared a passion for preserving open spaces and were dedicated to preserving our local argricultural heritage.
LCHFF documented the county's agricultural history farm-by-farm in text, pictures, film, and interviews with those who lived it. Their goal was to make the farm life and heritage of the county come alive to a diverse audience and provide a valuable resource to educators, preservationists, genealogists, families, historical societies, and other organized groups. LCHFF disbanded in 2017, and turned over most of its data to the Lake County Farm Heritage Association. (https://lcfha.com/), which then chose the McHenry County Historical Society to safeguard its records. A small portion of the historic farm data MCHS received is contained here.
Rouse, who continues to document barns throughout Lake County, had planned to photograph an abandoned barn in Grayslake. Unfortunately, the wreckers arrived first. The loss inspired Rouse to launch the Lake County Farmland Project. For details visit Lake County Farmland Project.
Click on map markers to view Heritage Farms in Lake and McHenry Counties
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