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S18 Episode 03: Life on the Wolf Farm

Guests Ginny Wolf Chivas, Jerry Kuhn and Ed Kuhn recall life on Ginny’s grandparents’ farm in the 1950s and 60s in Naperville. The conversation touches on some of the themes from an interpretive sign that will honor Naperville’s farming history at Wolf’s Crossing Community Park, a new park under construction in 2020.

This episode is part of Series 18: Remembering our Agricultural Heritage.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit  

Quotes from the episode: “In those days, nobody did anything by themselves. Either you had a big family, so they could help out in that way, or you had neighbors. Neighbors and relatives were always getting together to make life a little easier for everybody.” -Jerry Kuhn

Ed Kuhn, Sr. and his youngest  son, Chuck   This and all photos and images in this post are courtesy of the Kuhn family.

“When we get together with family and cousins, we all talk about how fortunate we were to grow up when and where we did. It was a great place to learn, to live, to enjoy, to learn how to value people and how to value God’s creations.”
 –Ed Kuhn, Jr.

One of the summer picnics hosted by the Kuhns. Ed Sr. is on the left and Jerry Kuhn is third from left.

“A visit to the farm was a delight I looked forward to. During the summer, if it was early evening, I’d get to play with the Kuhn kids out in the field, catching fireflies, while the grownups were chatting and relaxing up on the front porch.” 
-Ginny Wolf Chivas

Jerry and Ed recall the flowers that decorated the house and barn.

Aerial view of the Wolf Farm along Rt. 59.

Ginny’s grandparents’ dairy farm was on 203 acres of land from Route 59 to Fort Hill Drive, bordered by the Burlington Northern railroad tracks on the north and Aurora Avenue on the south. Ed Kuhn, Sr. and his wife, Ann, lived and worked on the farm from 1952-1972. Their five children included Dave, Karen, Jerry, Ed Jr. and Chuck. Ginny’s family lived in town and enjoyed visiting the farm. 

Ed and Ann Kuhn, circa 1963.

In addition to farming, Jerry and Ed’s father, Ed Kuhn was one of the first employees of the Naperville Park District, hired in 1969 shortly after the Park District began operations. He retired from the Park District in 1975. He is in the front row, last on the right.

This news article from the Naperville Sun gives another example of the way in which farmers helped each other when someone was sick or injured. It also recounts the opening of the Nabisco plant in 1968, which was visible from the Wolf Farm.


Nabisco Plant, view from the Wolf Farm in 1967.

Calligraphy by Ed and Jerry’s sister, Karen

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Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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