Fairview farm - recollections
"I was born in Chicago in 1896. Two years later, my father purchased 80 acres from my grandfather, and by 1900 our new home was completed. Fairview Farm was dedicated and immediately invaded by seven noisy kids with red hair. My grandfather and grandmother also came to live with us.
"Dad was in the sash and door business in Chicago, and he had the house built according to his order on a 'time and materials' basis. He always said that our house was built to last a hundred years. It's still there today so it just might make it." - James Mason (1977)
"I have many wonderful memories of my boyhood on Fairview Farm. Dad and Mother picked that name - I don't know why - and printed the lettering on a shingle that they placed at the entrance to our driveway on East Grove Road. Later, when Mr. Fredenhagen bought up our farm and subdivided it, he liked the name so much he changed the road to 'Fairview Avenue'. It's been called that ever since." - James Mason (1977)
"There was a pond on the East side of Fairview Ave. where we had a raft and a flat bottom boat. In 1910 Dad was supervising a drainage job laying 6 inch tile buried about 30 inches clear across the farm. At the same time Horace age 14 was supervising the harvest of a hay crop, which may have totaled 20 tons. That was a lot of hay lifted by the pitchfork of that skinny kid, and it seemed to me he was doing more heavy work than was good for him. Yet, 67 years later he is still on earth, still able to write about Fairview farm experience and the school days at Maercker school.
"That summer I was herding cattle, leading horses to water, pulling weeds in the strawberry patch and digging a swimming pool near the creek which ran across the end of the farm. The next spring the creek overflowed and the silt filled the swimming pool with nice rich soil. At this moment on that spot there is a round swimming pool on the lawn of a resident on 59th street.
"Nearby there is a golf course and not far away is a tennis bubble. On that Wheeler property we captured a young chicken hawk and gave it to a boy whose name was Hoefort. In the meadow we discovered a milk snake about 6 ft. long. Another milk snake climbed a pear tree in our orchard and devoured a baby robin.
"Along side the orchard we planted an alfalfa patch, possibly the first in DuPage County. That was in 1909. Commercial nitrogen was not yet on the market, so we loaded roadside soil onto the manure spreader and scattered it on the seed bed to make possible an alfalfa crop. The roadside soil had been inoculated naturally by sweet clover, which grew wild along Fairview Ave. Farmers came from miles away to see alfalfa."
- James Mason (1977)
"I was born on a farm near Downers Grove, Illinois, August 2, 1898. Father and mother had moved there from Chicago to give their children the benefit of plenty of room and fresh air, in which they would grow up healthy and happy. When I was a young boy I used to wander about the country a good deal and learned to enjoy just living and watching life." - Dave Mason (circa 1916)
"In our pasture we could find shooting stars with a delightful fragrance. Possibly fifty other wildflowers grew there. We dug a grave there for our horse Jack, which died of old age. Another death which saddened us was na albino calf born dead. Several of our muscovy ducks were killed in their shelter one night. None were eaten and we did not understand why a dog or other animal would be so wanton.
"Guinea hens were raised and eaten. Sometimes we would see as many as 30 prairie chickens feeding in our fields. It was a pleasure to have them and it seemed as though they lingered near us because our farm was 'posted' and we had no guns. A pet lamb was a member of our farm family."
- James Mason (1977)
"Dad sold the farm in 1911 and we moved to the city. Eighty acres just weren't enough to support a family, and besides all of the kids were older. One of the reasons we moved out there in the first place was because Dad thought it would be a nice place for kids to get a good start in life. He was right.
"I loved everything about Fairview Farm. There was always something exciting to do or places to explore. Our 'backyard' was endless. We could ice skate and bobsled in winter and swim in the summer. Wild flowers, meadow larks, owls and blue birds were all a part of our life. It was a wonderful place for a boy." - James Mason (1977)