Last year, I took the children to one of my favorite suburban Chicago locations: Cantigny Park. This year, I took them to my other favorite…the Naper Settlement!
The Naper Settlement is a historic village in Naperville just a few blocks from the Naperville Riverwalk. It is focused on life in the 1800s. The tour begins in the Pre-Emption House, which is a replica of a Naperville building that Abraham Lincoln visited!
The first stop on the tour (which is basically a big circle), is the blacksmith’s shop, and I think it was everybody’s favorite!
We also visited the printer, who not only explained how newspaper printing worked in the 1800s, but also let the children get a hands-on taste of it:
There was no one in the stone carver’s shop, but we were able to go in and look around:
We stopped by the fire department:
And the post office, which may be the single building where we learned the most, including some trivia related to one of last year’s literature selections, Treasure Island!
We also visited a log house (not a log cabin, because this home had a wooden floor!), and tried our hand a grinding coffee beans:
And the “halfway house,” which received its name because it was halfway between the home of Helena Zentmyer Wackerlin in Naperville and the home of her grandparents in Aurora:
The schoolhouse was especially interesting:
The mansion is the one building with an organized tour…it was beautiful!
We didn’t get to go inside the church, because there were two weddings there that day, but the exterior is lovely:
There was so much else to see! I especially liked the 1846 church bell, which used to ring in the steeple of the Baptist church in Naperville.
There were also lots of hands-on activities. Bunny tried pretty much everything, from doing laundry to playing games. There was something for everybody, even a chance to dress up like a firefighter!
It’s a beautiful place to take a walk on a gorgeous day1
There were a few other things to see outside the settlement:
And plenty of places for photos:
The Naper Settlement was always one of my favorite places to visit in DuPage County, and I’m so glad I got to share it with the children!