History of Primrose Farm Park

Owned and operated by the St. Charles Park District, Primrose is an interactive living history farm that seeks to educate, entertain and connect visitors of all ages to over 150 years of Fox Valley agricultural experiences.

Key Dates

1835 – First permanent settlement on current Primrose Farm lands by early pioneer John Hand.
1859 – Farm house and barn built by George March, son-in-law of St. Charles founder George Minard.
1917 – Real estate developer Chester Bolcum registers the property as “Primrose Farm.”
1918 – Bolcum sells the farm to Swan Anderson whose descendants own the property until 1994.
1994 – St. Charles Park District acquires Primrose Farm property.
2006 – Efforts begin to establish the site as a living history farm.
2009 – Grand opening celebration!

Things To Do

A visit to Primrose Farm is an opportunity to experience day-to-day aspects of 150 years of Fox Valley farm life. Our 100+ acres provide the perfect pastoral oasis for modern city and suburban families. Escape into the rural past with us!

Most visits to Primrose are self-guided. We recommend giving yourself at least an hour to explore the site. During your time at the farm, you can:

Calf MooingGreet the animals.

More information on our livestock residents is included in the FAQ

Stroll the farmyard.

Click here for a copy of our farmstead map.

Take a ride on the tire swing.

Located near the main farm house, our tire swing is a visitor favorite. Come on out and take a twirl!

Explore the historic barns and buildings.

Check out our exhibits page for a booklet with information on the various historic structures.

Tire SwingSay “Hello” to a farmer.

Climb on a tractor.

Near our fruit orchard you’ll find a variety of historic tractors you can climb on. Great for kids and adults alike! Put on your overalls and imagine plowing the Primrose fields with our Ford 9N, Farmall Super A, Farmall F-12 or Farmall F-20 tractors. You may also find a few more modern John Deere tractors in the farmyard.

Walk a trail.

Primrose Farm offers various multi-use trails for hikers and bicyclists with loops from 0.8 miles to 2.2 miles. A copy of our trail map can be found here. Picking Pears

Become a Junior Farmer.

In spring 2016, Primrose Farm unveiled a brand new way for children to engage with history, explore agriculture and examine the natural world. Even the littlest farmer can become a protector of the past, an advocate for animals and a steward of the environment. Visit us and become an official Primrose Junior Farmer today!

To become a Junior Farmer, kids of all ages can pick up an activity book in the farm office. Booklets cost $2 and are available Monday to Saturday from 8am-3pm. After collecting their booklet, potential Junior Farmers will tour the site – visiting animals, completing puzzles and finding hidden clues. Once all the required activities are completed, the book can be returned to the office where a Primrose Farmer will check the work and award the new Junior Farmer their very own Primrose Farm Junior Farmer bandana!

Classes & Programs

If you want to enhance your visit, sign up for one of our behind-the-scenes drop-in classes. Offered Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the year, these exciting programs give participants a chance to hand-milk a Jersey cow, gather eggs from the chicken coop, groom a draft horse, and help with afternoon chores.

In addition to our regular drop-in programs, Primrose offers seasonal classes, special events, school and scout programs, summer camps, and birthday parties. For more information, click on the applicable program type below or explore them all in the “Programs & Events” tab.

Community Garden Plots

The St. Charles Park District maintains 264 garden plots for our community at Primrose Farm. Perennial and annual plots can be rented from April 1 to October 31. There is a 4 plot limit per household.

Quantity Type Size Cost
120 annual 15’ x 30’ $25
99 annual 30’ x 30’ $45
24 perennial 15’ x 30’ $25
21 perennial 30’ x 30’ $45

February 3 – March 3: Returning gardeners may reserve the same plots rented the year prior.

March 4 – March 14: Returning gardeners may reserve new plots.

March 17: Open registration begins for all new gardeners.

Reservations for new and returning gardeners are accepted at Pottawatomie Community Center. Returning gardeners may submit their paperwork via mail or email but forms must be received by the applicable dates.

To access the reservation form, click here.

Picnic Pavilions

Are you looking for an ideal outdoor location to have a family reunion, a corporate get-together, or special event? Primrose Farm has two picnic pavilions to meet your needs.

One of the pavilions is located near the farmstead where your guests can meander through the farm buildings, check out the displays and the livestock, and still be close enough to hear the lunch or dinner bell.

The other picnic pavilion is tucked away in a secluded portion of the farm, off the beaten path. Here, your guests will enjoy the serenity of the farmland, free to explore the flora and fauna that surrounds them. Please note – access to this pavilion is via a 0.25 mile pedestrian only path.

Full day pavilion rentals are $50 each.

Persons interested in renting a pavilion must complete the Pavilion Rental Application Form. Reservations may be made by calling 630-584-1885. Credit card payments will be accepted over the phone. Make checks payable to the St. Charles Park District and mail payment to the Parks Department, St. Charles Park District, 8 North Avenue, St. Charles, Illinois 60174.

More information on renting – including a helpful FAQ – can be found here.

Experience Farm Life!

Explore restored farm buildings, visit with farm animals and agricultural interpreters, stroll through 100+ acres of historic and modern rural landscapes or climb up on a vintage tractor in the fruit orchard. Exciting and educational activities await you in the farmyard! Hand-milk a Jersey cow, gather eggs from the chicken coop, groom a draft horse, feed the animals, bake biscuits in the woodstove and churn your own butter or help in the vegetable garden. The opportunities to learn and play are endless! Drop-in programs offered Wednesdays and Saturdays. Custom programs and birthday party packages available, too.