Marbold Farmstead Receives Agricultural Preservation Award
April 27, 2013
On April 27th, the Garfield Farm Museum in La Fox, IL, held its 25th Annual Garfield Farm Museum Awards for historic, agricultural, and environmental preservation at the Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, IL. These awards recognize individuals and groups whose efforts parallel the museum's three themes: history, farming, and the environment.
The Garfield Heritage Society Board of Directors selected the Historic Marbold Farmstead, making the following comments: "The efforts to preserve the Marbold Home, once a Prairie Palace in Greenview, IL, west of Springfield, certainly involves preservation. Yet, the intention of the HMFA members is to bring to the immediate Land of Lincoln neighborhood, the story of the great agriculture that sustains Illinois and so many mouths around the world. Marbold was a very successful farm that grew to over 4,000 acres. It reflects the magnitude that farming was having in Illinois' first century. This story is not well told, and the efforts of the volunteers to save this rural community's farming heritage merits an Agricultural Preservation award."
Pictured at the awards dinner are Donna Neiler, Garfield Heritage Society President, and Helen Bauer Campton, Historic Agricultural Lands President, presenting the award to HMFA members Suzanne Blackburn, Susan Wilson, Doris (Marbold) Decker, and Charlotte Wohler.
Marbold Farmstead makes statewide endangered list
Landmarks of Illinois April 24, 2012
The Marbold Farmstead was named to Landmarks Illinois' annual Ten Most Endangered Historic Places list, which was announced today at a press conference in Springfield.
"This extraordinary farmstead is a great example of the rich agricultural history of Illinois," said Jean Follett, Interim Executive Director of Landmarks Illinois. "We are not doing enough to preserve the stories and the buildings that will explain our rural heritage to future generations."
Landmarks Illinois, the state's leading voice for historic preservation, named eight other endangered historic properties as well as a thematic grouping to its annual list which focuses attention on sites that are threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funds, or inappropriate development.
The Marbold family once owned thousands of acres of farmland in Menard County. They were vital to the economic growth of 19th-century Illinois: raising and selling livestock and crops, sponsoring immigrant families for settlement in the area and creating a local bank. Their introduction of modern conveniences at the farmstead--including brick construction, indoor plumbing, gas and steam heat--put them in the forefront of progressive farming. A group of local residents has worked for ten years to acquire the Farmstead for use as an educational center. Although this group has recently acquired the Farmstead and the remaining 10 acres of the original farm, the buildings have suffered from deterioration, neglect and vandalism. The task of raising money to rehabilitate the buildings and create programs for the Farmstead still lies ahead.
Since the inception of Landmarks Illinois' Ten Most list in 1995, more than a third of the listed properties have been saved, less than a quarter have been demolished, and the rest remain threatened or are being rehabilitated.
This year's list also includes: an 1854 limestone house, a twelve-story terra-cotta clad office tower, a turn-of-the-century city hall, a Georgian Revival building that housed the widows of Civil War soldiers, a 1928 former residential hotel, a Bertrand Goldberg-designed modern hospital, an exceptional residential design by the mid-20th-century architecture firm of Keck & Keck and a grouping of five "historic neighborhood schools."
Landmarks Illinois has been working to protect historic places throughout Illinois for over 40 years. The not-for-profit works with citizens and communities to preserve historic places and promote awareness about them through education and advocacy. In addition to the Ten Most Endangered list, the organization also sponsors an annual awards program and a matching grant program for County Courthouses.
The complete Ten Most list, including photos of the sites, is available at www.Landmarks.org through the "Press Room" link.
$30,000 raised for Marbold purchase
Group looks into loan for rest of $78,000
By Tim Landis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Business Editor
The State Journal Register
March 10, 2012
GREENVIEW — Supporters have raised $30,000 toward the $78,000 purchase price of the Marbold Farmstead and expect to learn this month whether the 162-year-old property has made a state list of endangered historic sites.
President Charlotte Wohler and vice-president Sue Wilson of the Historic Marbold Farmstead Association said Friday they are working with a group of Menard County banks in case loans are needed to cover the gap between fundraising and the purchase price.
“Every bit we raise before closing lessens the amount we would borrow,” Wilson said. “We don’t want to take on a debt load.”
She said a family trust that owns the farmstead near Greenview, about 20 miles north of Springfield, accepted the association offer of $78,000 for the farmstead, its outbuilding and 10-plus acres. Closing is expected later this month.
German immigrant John Marbold built the home in 1850, and it was renovated and enlarged by his son, H.H. Marbold, in 1880. The structure, which has a third-story ballroom, originally was known as Elmwood. According to an association history, the Marbold family holdings once totaled 4,000 acres.
Wohler said the association has raised $30,000 through 30 “founder club” donations of $1,000 each. The group is trying to find 20 more founders, though smaller donations are accepted. Donations are tax-deductible.
Wohler said a representative of Landmarks Illinois also has visited the farmstead as the preservation group considers its 2012 list of 10 most-endangered historic sites in the state.
“She made the comment she would love to see a farm museum in central Illinois, and it would be a great site,” Wohler said. “It was very encouraging.”
Wohler said the group expects to learn later this month whether the farmstead made this year’s most-endangered list.
The association’s long-term goal is creation of a living-history farm and tourist attraction. Wohler said the first challenge will be to stabilize the property. The home has been empty since at least the 1960s, and Wohler said the structure has suffered damage from water and from wild animals that used the home for shelter.
“One of the first things would be to address some of the issues with the house. The house itself is basically very sound,” she said.
Fifty "Founders" crucial to Marbold Farmstead purchase
The Petersburg Observer
March 9, 2012
Greenview — After celebrating the news that the Marbold Farmstead is being considered by Landmarks Illinois for one of their "Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites," the association is faced with gathering the remaining financial support to complete their capital campaign in the amount of $78,000 to purchase the house and the 10+ acre site. To date, $30,000 has been donated by founders who have supported "Saving the Farmstead" in amounts of $1,000 or more. The goal to secure fifty founders is now three-fifths complete. It is essential that the remaining twenty founders be secured. Founders may be individuals/families/groups that join together for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save a piece of Menard county history for the youth of tomorrow to enjoy. The mission of the Historic Marbold Farmstead Association is to develop the property into a living history farm and museum to inform the public about German heritage and farming in central Illinois from the mid-1800's to the early 1900's.
The original Marbold family holdings consisted of over 4,000 acres, and the farm was virtually self-sufficient. Among the buildings, some vestiges of which remain today, were several barns, ice house, dairy, chicken house, boiler house, pump house, and smoke house.
It is the fervent hope of the not-for-profit Historic Marbold Farmstead Association that there are local and area citizens and groups who see the value of preserving and promoting interest in the history of agriculture and sponsoring related educational programs. Any of the board members on the web www.historic-marbold-farmstead.org can provide a "Founders" form and meet to discuss a supporting donation. Also seen on the website is a video informing people of the urgent need to close the accepted offer. Just as the 4,000 acre farmstead has been reduced through time to 10+ acres, the window open to secure the property is limited by time also, and the association's ability to acquire the necessary funds.
Donations provided for acquisition of the property need to be received by Monday, March 12th. Please rush your tax-deductible donation to: Historic Marbold Farmstead Association, PO Box 438, Greenview, IL 62642-0438. Phone contacts include Leona Edwards (415-5975), Charlotte Wohler (968-5808), and Susan Wilson (415-1239).
Marbold Farmstead is "Landmark" Finalist
The Petersburg Observer
February 23, 2012
Greenview — The Historic Marbold Farmstead Association has been contacted by Landmarks Illinois that they are included in finalists for the designation of “2012 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places”.
According to their website www.landmarks.org , “since 1995, Landmarks Illinois has asked preservationists , community leaders, and concerned citizens to nominate threatened or endangered historic properties for its annual listing. Inclusion on the Ten Most has proven beneficial for many of Illinois’ historic places. Designation would create opportunities for preservation solutions, including grants/assistance.” Should the Marbold Farmstead be selected for this designation, the announcement will be made at the State Capital on April 24th, at the annual meeting.
To date, almost $30,000 has been pledged by families, groups, individuals, and in memoriam, toward the possible acquisition of the property. Pledges toward making the Marbold Farmstead a living history farm, where “the past touches the present” are crucial. More information and a “Founder” form may be secured by contacting Charlotte Wohler (968-5808) or Susan Wilson (415-1239). The association is now in the process of seeking “matching funds” for the amount that has been raised through the success of community support piece of the acquisition project.
The HMFA is prepared to make presentations to area groups, featuring a professionally-designed video. Don’t hesitate to call if you need a program in the near future. Keep up-to-date on everything related to the HMFA on the website www.historic-marbold-farmstead.org
Group seeks to buy Marbold Farmstead
By TIM LANDIS (email@example.com)
The State Journal-Register
Posted Nov 12, 2011 @ 11:00 PM
Photo by Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register - Cindy Rankin is president of the Historic Marbold Farmstead Association, based in Greenview. The association has its sights set on purchasing the property and preserving it as a living history site.
GREENVIEW — A group of volunteers formed seven years ago to promote preservation of the Marbold Farmstead now has much more ambitious plans, including an outright purchase of the 161-year-old home. The long-term goal is a “living history” farm that shows life as it was lived by the family of John Marbold, the German immigrant who built the home in northern Menard County in 1850. At one time, the family holdings totaled 4,000 acres.
“We’re starting small, trying to get the community interested,” said Cindy Rankin, president of the Historic Marbold Farmstead Association. The group, which has 50 volunteer members, plans an information meeting on Tuesday in Greenview to outline plans for purchase and restoration.
The home, originally known as the Elmwood Home, is on Illinois 29, two miles south of Greenview and 20 miles north of Springfield. According to the association, the two-story home with a third-story ballroom has been vacant since the late 1960s.
Special events The association has used the grounds for special events — draft-horse hauling, crafts and pottery demonstrations, ice-cream socials, soap-making, period music, beekeeping, and spinning and weaving — since its formation in 2004. Use has been with permission of the family trust that owns the farmstead, said Rankin. “There’s been a misconception all along, because we held events out there, that we owned it, and we don’t,” said Rankin.
Two developments in the past year are driving the purchase campaign — the home was put on the market, and the Internal Revenue Service gave final approval to the association’s not-for-profit status. “It’s been a slow process, but steady,” said Charlotte Wohler, secretary of the association. “It’s a wonderful property. When people are taken through it, they are just mesmerized,” Wohler added. “The Marbolds were way ahead of their time in some of the things they did.”
The family trust has put the home and 10 acres on the market at an asking price of $100,000, according to the association, which has only about $15,000 in commitments toward the purchase price. Both Rankin and Wohler said the group hopes the asking price can be negotiated while fundraising efforts pick up. The association plans to present a financial report, as well as its long-term goals for the Marbold home, at Tuesday’s meeting.
Menard County Tourism Council executive director Andy Maxson said he plans to attend Tuesday’s meeting, mostly just to get an idea where the project is headed. Maxson said the Marbold Farmstead is not well known outside of Menard County, where Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site is a major draw. But Maxson said a working historical farm would be a significant attraction by itself. “At one time, it was one of the premiere farms in central Illinois,” said Maxson. “It had any kind of agriculture you could think of.”
Rankin said family history also is behind her efforts to restore the Marbold Homestead. She said the John Marbold family brought other immigrants to the area from Germany, but only if they were single adults. Her future great-grandparents were in such a group.
Rankin said historical research found the Marbolds sponsored immigrants who were unable to own farms of their own in Germany. “Germany was landlocked. If you weren’t the son or oldest son, you had to marry someone who had land,” said Rankin. Her great-grandparents worked for the Marbolds, married and eventually bought land of their own. “We just think this would be a really great educational thing … an opportunity for people to see how it was then,” said Rankin.
The Marbold Farmstead
John Marbold, a German immigrant, built the original home, known as Elmwood, in 1850. His son, H.H. Marbold, added on to the home in the 1880s. The family holdings at one point included more than 4,000 acres. The farm was considered basically self-sufficient for its time with several barns, a dairy, chicken houses, a smokehouse, an icehouse, a boiler house and pump house.
Want to go?
What: Information meeting on efforts to buy and renovate the Marbold Farmstead, near Greenview in Menard County. When: 7 p.m. Tuesday. Where: Greenview Baptist Church. Greenview is on Illinois 29 about 20 miles north of Springfield.
Copyright 2011 The State Journal-Register. Some rights reserved. Photo by Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register.
New push now underway to acquire Marbold Farmstead
The Petersburg Observer
November 22, 2011
The “For Sale” signs that recently went up at the Marbold Farmstead near Greenview took many people by surprise, particularly members of the Historic Marbold Farmstead Association who have been negotiating for several years to acquire the property.
A $100,000 price has been placed on the home and an adjoining 10 acres of ground. The farmstead was originally built in 1850 by John Marbold and enlarged in the 1880s by his son, H. H. Marbold. Formerly known as Elmwood, the house at one time was one of this area’s most notable homes.
The HMFA, which was recently granted non-for-profit status, held a community meeting on November 15 to discuss the potential sale of the homestead as well as the organization’s continuing desire to acquire the property.
“The Historic Marbold Farmstead Association, or HMFA, was formed in 2004 to try to acquire the historical property the Marbold family built in 1850,” HMFA president Cindy Rankin said in addressing those attending the meeting.
“Up to this point of time, we have held events on the property with the permission of Lisa Drynan, the chief trustee of the Hansen Trust, because the property was not for sale. However, recently the home and 10.7 acres has been put on the market
“Our mission is to acquire this property and educate the public about its historical significance. The historic Marbold Farmstead is an irreplaceable piece of history. The foundation and home are still intact, which means that restoration is all that is needed. The time is now. We must hold onto this irreplaceable piece of history before it’s gone forever.”
Board member Sue Wilson discussed the association’s endeavors up to this point as well as negotiations with the owners.
“For the last seven years, the HMFA has been trying to acquire the Marbold Farmstead property,” she stated. “Two years ago the farm ground surrounding the property was sold to Mr. John Carver. We’ve kept in communication with Lisa Hansen Drynan since that time, but even so we were very surprised when the beginning of October, she let us know that the Hansen Family Trust was going to put the farmstead on the market.”
According to Wilson, the HMFA had the property appraised in August 2010, and a $32,000 value was placed on it. “The HMFA informed Ms. Drynan that we had an appraisal that we had done. She was shocked I guess, to say the least, and she came back and said, ‘You know, we’re just too far apart.’ But we were just as shocked as anybody when the signs came up out there. We had no idea.”
Members have been working with both a banker and a realtor, and they made a $32,000 offer for the property, based on the appraisal. Drynan countered back with a $95,000 price.
“At least we’re negotiating,” Wilson said. “When we first told her that we had an appraisal for $32,000, that was pretty much when we had not had much communication with her at all. At least the lines of communication are still open.”
Some stabilization work was done on the house several years ago, but many of the outbuildings that once stood on the ground have crumbled away over the years.
Jim Irish is a restoration contractor who previously worked on the house, and he stated that it can be saved, despite its current condition. “This house has got a lot of history behind it, and a lot of people know about it,” he commented. “There’s a lot of potential. The house is in pretty decent shape. It will probably stand another five or ten years if you acquire the property and don’t do anything. It’s definitely savable.”
Leona Edwards told about the C. H. Moore house in Clinton that is now called the DeWitt County Museum. Funds raised from the community’s annual Apple and Pork Festival have been used to restore that structure, and it was an endeavor started by a small group of volunteers.
“If you have ever attended that festival, you know how that event has put Clinton on the map,” Edwards said. “That same thing can happen here with Greenview, with Menard County.
“We have more than just a farm home to restore, but it can be done. We already have a master restoration plan for the outbuildings and the house, and here we are talking to you, reaching out to the community, hopefully to gather support. With your support, our project can add taxes to the county. It can increase tourism, which brings new business. It can really put Greenview, Athens, Petersburg, all of Menard County on the map.”
In an HMFA video produced by Denene Deverman Crabbs, former association president Barbara VanDyke Brown noted that the group’s mission is threefold: to acquire the property, to restore it, and to educate the public about the history of the farm and agricultural practices over time.
“The idea is that we would be helping people to understand exactly what life would have been like at that time and that place,” she stated. “The farmstead has been here since 1851. It is an icon of agricultural history and heritage. It represents a history of not only the Midwest and agriculture in the Midwest, but it also represents a history of Greenview because the two are so tied together.
“We are exceptional in the fact that we have original buildings here. We have remnants of original buildings here that can be and are still able to be restored. We want to try to preserve what we can, restore what we can’t. We need your help to get the job done.”
The association currently has limited financial resources, with those funds coming from memberships, events held at the farmstead and donations, and one of their current goals is to raise additional money while still negotiating acquisition of the property. Both tax deductible donations and pledges are being accepted, with plans to hold all pledges until an acquisition agreement has been reached with the owners. And now that the organization has its not-for-profit status, grant funding can be sought.
Another urgent need is volunteers to help get the word out about the historical significance of the farmstead and to assist with fund raising efforts and HMFA events.
“Our interest is to add more folks to the association so we can act on all these super ideas, but we need the bodies,” Edwards stated. “We really could use you to utilize your strengths.”
The organization’s website was recently updated, and it includes a history of the farmstead and the Marbold family, the HMFA video, and information about becoming a member or making a donation to the group. Pledge forms are available to contacting one of the HMFA board members: Cindy Rankin, Sue Elliott, Charlotte Wohler, Sharon Porter, Louise Browne, Sharon Davis, Ruth Dowell, Steve Rankin and Sue Wilson.
Marbold Farmstead featured on Public Television
Several years ago, Mark McDonald, host and producer for Springfield’s Pubic Television, made a documentary featuring the Marbold Farmstead. The one-half hour show was aired as a segment of “Illinois Trails” on WSEC. The show included an interview with Rodney Dimmick, then President of the Association, who described plans to restore the Farmstead and to create a living history farm. Mark McDonald also interviewed Jim Irish, who described the work being done to stabilize and restore the home. Cindy Rankin discussed with Mark the history of her ancestors who had come from Germany to work on the Marbold Farmstead.
Tom Eldridge was filmed plowing with a team of draft horses. Tom discussed with Mark the time and effort involved in farm work on the historic Farmstead and the differences in equipment, seed and fertilizer then as compared with today.
Other portions of the show included interviews with Janet McAtee about the garden being planted on the grounds and with Ron Hilst, the agriculture teacher at Greenview High School.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this segment of “Illinois Trails,” call WSEC at 217-483-7887, and ask for episode #308, entitled “Marbold Farm.” The cost is $19.95, which includes shipping and handling. Or, you can order by mail as follows: enclose a check for $19.95, specify the title and episode number, and mail to WSEC, P.O. Box 6248, Springfield IL 62708.