Exciting news! Primrose is in the process of designing brand-new on-site and digital exhibits! Coming soon, these exhibitions will tell the story of over 150 years of Fox Valley agricultural experiences with new signage, interactive elements and QR linked online components. In the meantime, below please find information on some of our current and past Primrose Farm related exhibitions and publications:
Written in 2009 by former Farm Manager Kirk Bunke and former Director of the St. Charles Heritage Center Julie Bunke, this wonderful booklet provides information on the history of Primrose Farm. With sections on pre-settlement history, the three foundational farmsteads, and the current buildings and barns, this booklet is a great introduction to our site. Click here or on the image at right to view a PDF of the booklet or stop by Primrose today to pick up a paper copy.
Jorstad Photograph Exhibit
Before Primrose underwent its transition from old dairy farm into living history museum, Stan Jorstad, a nationally renowned landscape photographer and St. Charles resident, donated photographs of site to the St Charles Park District. The 17 black and white images originally donated in 2006 are still on display on the first floor of the Pottawatomie Community Center. Below is the text of the press release that accompanied the exhibit opening:
April 17, 2006
Stan Jorstad, a nationally renowned landscape photographer and St. Charles resident, has generously donated 17 photographs of Primrose Farm, a 1930s living history farm, from his private collection to the St Charles Park District.
First settled in 1835 by early pioneer John Hand, Primrose Farm has had a long history of owners. One of St Charles’ founders, George Minard, bought the farm in the 1840s. His son-in-law, George March, built the house and barn in 1859. Those two buildings form the core of today’s historic farmstead. The March family owned and operated the farm until shortly before World War I when they sold the farm to local real estate developer Chester Bolcum. In 1917, Bolcum registered the name Primrose Farm. A year later, he sold the farm to a Swedish immigrant named Swan Anderson. Anderson and his son, Ernie, spent years updating the aging farm by adding modern amenities including the windmill, silo, concrete milk house and concrete fence posts. Ernie Anderson continued farming until his death in 1985. The property changed hands a few more times until the Park District acquired it in 1994.
Long before anyone thought of turning Ernie Anderson’s old dairy farm into a museum, Stan Jorstad began documenting daily activities there. Whenever Jorstad wanted to try out a new camera or experiment with a new technique, he went to nearby Primrose Farm. For forty years, he caught the gradually changing landscape and farming practices in a beautiful and thought-provoking manner.
Jorstad began his lifelong love-affair with photography when he received a camera as a present for his tenth birthday. That simple gift led to an accomplished career as a designer, commercial photographer and cinematographer. Following a stint in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, Jorstad went to work for the Container Corporation of America where he eventually served as Director of Photography.
He also worked with such notable photographers as Ansel Adams, Torkel Korling and Eliot Porter. In the 1960s, Jorstad spent four years working with Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler, filming segments for Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. His 1997 book, These Rare Lands, contains his photographs of all 54 National Parks and marks a high point in his career. Wagon Wheel
This is the latest in a series of photo exhibits for the long-time St. Charles resident. Fresh from producing exhibits for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service, Jorstad turned his attention to combing his collection for photographs of Primrose Farm Park. He captured the farm in every season with images ranging from still-life and character studies to broad landscapes.