Stellwagen Farm

Stellwagen Family FarmStellwagen Family Farm - Part of the Open Lands CommissionStellwagen Family Farm HouseStellwagen Family Farm Milk HouseStellwagen Family Farm House Welcoming Woodpecker and BellStellwagen Family Farm Chicken PensStellwagen Family Farm Various Tool ShedsStellwagen Family Farm Various Historical Equipment

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY ABOUT THE AREA :: Native Americans and European Settlement
This area was occupied for hundreds of years by various Indian tribes prior to European exploration. The Treaty of Chicago in 1833 took the last of the lands and reservations of the Potawatomi Indians. The first European settlers in Orland Township appear to have arrived just after this in the mid- 1830’s with the first post office established in 1848 and the first school built in 1849-50. They established farms on the rich prairie soil and were primarily English and German. In the 1880’s the main town of Orland was situated along the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railroad. Its businesses consisted of two general stores, two saloons, post office, furniture store, blacksmith and wagon shop. A smaller settlement farther southwest along the railroad and close to the present Stellwagen Farm was called Alpine and its businesses consisted of a post office and general store. Around this time, the use of drain tiles eliminated much of the many wetlands, which followed the elimination of the prairies by the plow. By this time, agriculture dominated the landscape with some old oak/ hickory groves and wetlands remaining.

Train commuter service began in 1893 to Chicago but declined in the 1930’s to one train in and one out per day. Today, this railroad is used by the Chicago area’s commuter train service, Metra. Train service on what is now called the Southwest Service provides 18 inbound trains and 18 outbound trains on weekdays.

Orland Township remained largely agricultural until the 1960’s when suburban development began. Suburban development reached the area immediately surrounding the Stellwagen Farm in the 1980’s. Orland Park grew from 850 residents in 1950 to 25,738 in 1980 and to 56,767 in 2010.