Above / The Wheatland Plowing Match Association presented $100,000 to the Naperville Heritage Society. (Photo courtesy Donna DeFalco)
The Wheatland Plowing Match Association (WPMA) donated $100,000 to the Naperville Heritage Society Thursday, Sept. 18, to be used toward the development of a future Agricultural Heritage Center at Naper Settlement in Naperville.
Naper Settlement President and CEO Rena Tamayo-Calabrese said, “Your important gift will help us tell the stories of our farming families and to share the area’s farming heritage with the thousands of visitors who come to Naper Settlement each year. By keeping your stories alive, we will never forget those who have made a difference in our community.”
Wilbert Hageman, president of the Wheatland Plowing Match Association, said, “We felt that the Naperville Heritage Society and what their direction is, fit in exactly with what we would like to have there. It’s a place to exhibit the farm equipment we used locally and have held onto until such a place could be found like Naper Settlement. Here it will be put into context and that’s why we decided to donate the money along with the equipment, so future generations would know what farming was like in Naperville at one time.”
The Wheatland Plowing Match Association is disbanding after 137 years and is donating equipment to the Naperville Heritage Society, which includes a thresher, plow, grain binder, oat cutter and tractor, dating back to the early to mid-1900s and into the mid-20th century, and the funds to help preserve the equipment.
The original Wheatland Plowing Match Association was established in 1877 to sponsor an annual plowing competition, Ladies Fair and food tent. In the 1980s, members of the WPMA and the Farmer’s Committee were instrumental in raising funds for the “Farmers Plaza” monument engraved with the names of 331 area farm families, topped by an antique walking plow, which is located on the Riverwalk at the corner of Eagle Street and the DuPage River bridge in Naperville. In 1990, the Wheatland Plowing Match Association was organized as a 501(c)3. Through the years, WPMA held special events including the annual farmers pig roast and spaghetti dinner. The organization also awarded scholarships to students studying agriculture and agriculture-related majors.
Photo Caption: From left are Wheatland Plowing Match Association members and board members Joe Roth, Karen Roth, Ray Keller, Rich Rowe, Ron Brigel, Tammy Brigel, Tim Drendel, Cheryl Keller, Frank Keller, Ruth Hageman, Wilbert Hageman, Naper Settlement President and CEO Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel, Naperville Heritage Society Chairman Sally Pentecost, Naperville City Councilman Grant Wehrli, Naper Settlement Museum Board member Mary Ann Junkroski, Naperville Heritage Society past chairman Dave Kelsch and Naperville Heritage Society board member Margie Ploense. Not pictured are Karen Allen and Bridget Steininger.
Photo and story courtesy of Donna DeFalco, Marketing and Sales Representative at Naper Settlement
About Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society
Naper Settlement is a nationally accredited, award-winning outdoor museum set on 12 magnificent acres in the heart of Naperville, where history comes to play and community comes to connect. The Naperville Heritage Society is the administrator of Naper Settlement. With a commitment to the community and a focus to the future, the mission of the Naperville Heritage Society is to collect, document, preserve and support the history of Naperville, Illinois, past and present. For more information, visit napersettlement.org or call (630) 420-6010.