Did you know that Orland Park began as a farming community? When the first settlers arrived in the 1830s and 40s, the majority were farmers. This display looks at the history of agriculture in Orland Park, beginning with the practices of the indigenous tribes in the area and ending with the decline of Orland farming after World War II. We hope you enjoy this display showcasing our community’s history. These items belong to and are cared for by the Village of Orland Park, along with a collection of over 25,000+ artifacts. These displays will be changed throughout the year, so be sure to stop back to see what is new!

Pictured above: Indigenous Agricultural Hoe, date unknown Pictured left: Agricultural Souvenir from World’s Fair, 1893

INDIGENOUS AGRICULTURE TO SETTLER FARMING Before European settlers moved to the Orland area, numerous indigenous tribes lived on the land. In 1743, the Potawatomi people moved into the Chicago area from what is now Detroit. They gathered plants, hunted, fished, and grew substantial gardens of beans, corn and squash. The first European settlers moved to the Orland area in the 1830s, with more arriving in the 1850s. Some of the earliest families were Bandle, Ingraham, Deck and Campbell. Many early settlers were farmers or raised livestock due to the area’s rich soil and land. According to Loretta Hostert Ziesemer, grand daughter of Mary Bisenius Hostert (1860-1937) and Nicholas Hostert (1853 1931) (nephew of Jacob and Bernard Hostert, who built the Hostert cabins), planting corn was backbreaking work. She remembers how difficult it was for her grandfather, stating: “The soil must be tilled, trees and stumps removed. Hoe a spot, put some seeds in, go a little distance and do it again. Keep a straight line. They didn’t have a plow.” ARTIFACTS IN THIS CABINET TOP SHELF (LEFT TO RIGHT): • Indigenous Agricultural Hoes, Date Unknown • Indigenous Spear Points, Date Unknown •.Postcard of an Unidentified Farming Family, c. 1900-1915 • Advertisement for Morrison MFG Co. Farm Implements, c. 1880s • Peter Hostert’s Mill Feed Tag, Date Unknown BOTTOM SHELF (LEFT TO RIGHT): • Horseshoe, c. 1870-1910

• Corn Husker Hook Gloves, Date Unknown • Chiappetti Animal Brand, Date Unknown • Sheep Shears, Date Unknown

•.Advertisements for Horse and Cattle Remedies, c. 1890s • .Letter Regarding Destruction of Cattle Driving Hill, 1913

Pictured top to bottom: Two advertisements for Dr. Haas’ Horse and Cattle Remedies, c. 1890s; Postcard of an Unidentified Farming Family, c. 1900-1915


At the 1893 Columbian Exposition, there was a building specifically dedicated to agriculture. It housed harvested food products, such as bread, meat, grain liquors and dairy products. The building also contained farming machinery and implements (such as John Deer & Company), fertilizer substances and works of art centered around agriculture by artists from the United States, Germany, Russia, Spain and Canada. John Humphrey was invited to attend the 1893 Columbian Exposition. While working as an Illinois Representative and Senator, he opposed many of the bills in Chicago because they tended to deprive the country towns of some of their rights and privileges. The newspapers attacked him and called him names like “Farmer John.” However, residents elected Humphrey with large margins until 1910. As the author of an article from a Chicago Heights newspaper wrote in 1902, “Humphrey stands as a stone wall for the country districts.” ARTIFACTS IN THIS CABINET TOP SHELF (LEFT TO RIGHT): • John Humphrey’s invitation to the Chicago World’s Fair, 1893 •. D.M. Osbourne and Co. Souvenir Booklet, 1893 •.Souvenir from the Agricultural Building at the Chicago World’s Fair, 1893 • Jug Used to Store Dried Corn, c. 1840-1900 BOTTOM SHELF (LEFT TO RIGHT): • Photo of Koehler Family Farm, 1896 • Political Advertisement and Calendar for John Humphrey’s Senatorial Campaign, 1902 •.Comments of the Chicago Press on John Humphrey’s Politics, 1901 •.“Farmer John” Political Cartoon, Chicago Tribune, November 1, 1902

Humphrey political calendar, 1902


During the 1910s and 1920s, the average day for an Orland farmer began at 5 a.m. The family woke up at the crack of dawn to milk cows and feed the horses working in the fields that day and other livestock. This was all done before breakfast. A typical Orland farmer usually grew barley, wheat, hay, oats and corn, and raised hogs, dairy cattle and chickens. Horse-drawn thresher machines harvested hay, wheat, oats and barley, but farmers picked and husked corn by hand. Early combine harvesters (a machine that cuts and delivers the crop to the thresher) did not appear in Orland until the mid-1930s and were not widely used until the late 1940s and early 1950s. After toiling in the fields for hours, a farmer’s day ended after dark. Then, he woke up the next morning at 5 a.m. to repeat the cycle. There were no days off or sleeping late because the animals needed to be fed at the same time every day.

ARTIFACTS IN THIS CABINET TOP SHELF (LEFT TO RIGHT): • .Photo of Koehler and Grosskopf families, 1910 • Sickle, Date Unknown • Milk Jug, Date Unknown • Photo of James and Owen Creer, 1931 BOTTOM SHELF (LEFT TO RIGHT): • Photo of Cooper Family Farm, 1900 •.Advertisements for Schuttler and Hotz Wagons, 1893 •.Advertisement for Deering Light Reapers, 1893 • .Photo of Herman and Sarah Kruspe, c. 1920-1939

Pictured top to bottom: Sickle, date unknown; Photo of Herman and Sarah Kruspe, c. 1920-1939

DECLINE OF ORLAND AGRICULTURE During the Great Depression, farmers suffered more than most people in Orland. While the community banded together to help each other, nationwide prices for farm products plummeted and many farmers struggled to generate enough money to purchase items. Despite the hardships farmers faced during the Great Depression, the majority pulled through this tough time. Local shop owners, such as the Loebe Brothers and Jim Creer extended credit to customers, which was an opportunity for shoppers to buy necessities and then pay back their debts when they had the money. During World War II, many farmers were exempt from the draft so they could maintain food production. However, even with the draft exemption, a single man often had to complete the work that multiple men would normally complete. The post-WWII period marked the decline of Orland’s farming community. In 1946, Orland Park had 15,629 acres of farmland, which increased in value

as the Township made new improvements to sewer and water systems. This increase in value, combined with high land taxes in the area, led to many farmers making the decision to sell their land to secure their future finances.

ARTIFACTS IN THIS CABINET TOP SHELF (LEFT TO RIGHT): • Photo of Creer’s Meat Market, c. 1925-1935

•.Souvenir Ticket Booklet from the Chicago World’s Fair, 1933 •.Brochure for Heinz 57, Chicago World’s Fair, 1933 •.Photo Booklet from the Chicago World’s Fair, 1933 BOTTOM SHELF (LEFT TO RIGHT): • .Ida Humphrey’s Ration Booklet, c. 1941-1945 •.Photo of a Woman in the Doctor Family, c. 1940s • Orland Fire Department Cap, c. 1920-1940

Pictured: Chicago World’s Fair memorabilia 1933

•.Rural Farm Survey of Boley Farm’s Barns, 1995

• Arnold family PTA pin, 1932-1934


The final two cabinets in this display show examples of early farm machinery.

ARTIFACTS IN THESE CABINETS CABINET FIVE (LEFT TO RIGHT): • Reins Belonging to the Humphrey Family, c. 1880-1910 • Photo of the Humphrey Family Farm, c. 1940s • Hand Cultivator/Seeder, 1900

In Cabinet Five, there is a small hand cultivator or seeder from 1900. It has a wooden handle that turns a crank to release seeds into the field. The tray holds the seeds and pushes them into the wheel that then breaks them up. CABINET SIX (LEFT TO RIGHT): • Pick, c. 1875-1925 Since Orland was a farming community, the pick hammer was likely used for harvesting instead of mining. Farmers wielded this tool to pry or break up tough roots or rocks in their field. • File Tool, Date Unknown .A file tool was used to sharpen other tools. Since this belonged to an Orland family, it was probably used on a farm to sharpen various pieces of equipment. • Cider Press, 1910 The cider press on display is from 1910 and is made from wood and steel mechanical parts. By twisting the crank at the top, the press grinds apples into pulp and the hole at the bottom allows for the juice to come out.

Pictured top to bottom: Pickaxe, c. 1875-1925; Humphrey Farm, c. 1940s

Cider Press, 1910

Seeder, 1900

MAYOR Keith Pekau VILLAGE CLERK Patrick R. O’Sullivan TRUSTEES: William R. Healy, Cynthia Nelson Katsenes, Michael R. Milani, Sean Kampas, Brian J. Riordan, Joni J. Radaszewski


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