Volkening Heritage Farm spurs love for animals and early Schaumburg life

Louis Handke-Roth and Natalie Daniel spent the summer getting dirty in their own backyard. Unlike many suburban kids it wasn’t at a park or playground, they took part in farm chores at Spring Valley’s Volkening Heritage Farm.

The 1880s living history farm, located at 201 S. Plum Grove Road, has early Schaumburg buildings and features including a barn, farm house, kitchen, hog house, tool house and windmill. A lively interpretative program runs from April 1 to Oct. 31 complete with authentically dressed volunteers doing tasks common in early Schaumburg.

And no farm would be complete without cows, chickens, pigs and horses.

Handke-Roth, a Schaumburg resident, enjoys working with the Farm’s residents especially the calves, Friedrich and Friederike. The 12-year-old milks them, prepares food and performs general farm chores in Farmer Boot Camp, a summer program at Heritage Farm that immerses children in 1880s farm life.

“I like the hands on working experience at Heritage Farm,” said Handke-Roth. “I’ve become friends with the cows while attending camps the past few years.”

Friedrich, a brown Milking Shorthorn bull calf, and Friederike, a black Simmental Milking Shorthorn cross heifer calf, may have just been born to the Farm’s other cows, Heidi and Lottie, in March, 2012, but there have been multiple generations of Friedrich’s ancestors that existed on Heritage Farm.

Heidi, a Milking Shorthorn, is the mother of Friedrich and daughter of Hanna, a contribution from the Schaumburg Park Foundation. Even though Hanna may have left Schaumburg, Friedrich and Heidi still call the Farm home and greet visitors with a “moo” daily.

“I’ve been able to see the cows mature and meet new additions to the barn,” said Handke-Roth. “It’s really cool and makes me want to be a farmer when I grow up.”

Daniel, 12, of Hoffman Estates has also been inspired to work with animals in her adult career as a result of her first camp experience on Heritage Farm.

She likes taking care of the chickens, cows and horses at Heritage Farm. She also found it very interesting to learn that horses only breathe out of their noses. The Farm’s horses, Prince and Duke, also enjoy her company in the barn.

The Percheron draft horse duo, common to 19th century Schaumburg, resides in the stables. The horses are largely used for interpretive purposes including pulling wagons, plowing fields, cutting hay and running the burr mill. They also pull the horse drawn wagon purchased by the Park Foundation during the summer months.

In addition to Hanna and the horse drawn wagon, the Schaumburg Park Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, raised more than $507,0000 for the initial development of Heritage Farm.

From April 1 to Oct. 31, Heritage Farm is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The farm’s interpretative program runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, call 847/985-2102.


Louis Handke-Roth milks one of Heritage Farm’s cows in the barn.


Natalie Daniel stands with a hungry Prince in the Heritage Farm barn.