Monday, December 3, 2018

What was found buried on Budlong Farm, the world's largest pickle farm in Bowmanville, Illinois, (Chicago)?

Lyman Budlong (1829-1909) was a remarkable pioneer in the pickle industry. He built a massive farm and processing factory on 700 acres in Bowmanville, Jefferson Township, Illinois. The Budlong pickle factory was established in 1869.

He built a two-story frame house with wagon shed attached and sheds for salting the pickles. It had been enlarged from time to time as the increase of the business required.

The area known as Budlong Farm (now called Budlong Woods) and is a neighborhood in the Lincoln Square community of Chicago.

The farm's boundaries were Bryn Mawr Avenue on the north (5600 north); Foster Avenue on the south (5200 north); Western Avenue on the east (2400 west); and Kedzie to the west; (Budlong  Woods western boundary was changed a little to the east when the North Shore Channel was completed in 1910).

Budlong grew tomatoes, onions, carrots, and lettuce, but his huge money crop was cucumbers, which he processed on site, becoming the largest supplier of premium pickles in the World. 
At the peak of his vegetable operation around 1900 he seasonally employed about 1500 women and children as well as 800 men harvesting 12,000 bushels of vegetables a day, 150,000 bushels of cucumbers per growing season. In later years he changed his crop to flowers, growing them in a huge number of greenhouses.

Lyman Budlong died on November 6, 1909 and was buried next to his wife, Louise Newton Budlong, in Rosehill Cemetery, just a stones throw from his massive pickle empire.

The Budlong company was eventually absorbed by Dean Foods.
Overlooking the Budlong Farm fields.

Field workers picking pickles.
Horse-drawn delivery wagons.
Budlong Farm growing flowers in a massive number of greenhouses.
BOWMANVILLE HISTORY
Bowmanville, Illinois was developed in 1850 by a local resident who disappeared before his customers discovered that he did not own the land he had sold to them. 

A large hill just north of Bowmanville was named Roe's Hill by Hirum Roe, who lived near it (in Bowmanville) and kept whiskey at his house to sell in the early days. Rosehill Cemetery opened in 1859. The entrance faced the North Western Railroad depot at Rosehill Drive, right at Hiram Roe's house/tavern as an encouragement to mourners and picnickers to make day-long outings to the area.

The first business in Bowmanville, a tavern, was opened in 1868 by Christian Brudy. A short time later, Thomas Freestone built a tavern and hotel to serve the people visiting the Rosehill cemetery grounds.

LYMAN DISCOVERS A SMALL INDIAN BURIAL MOUND ON HIS PICKLE FARM
One fine day, Lyman was excavating for a gravel pit on the far west edge of his farm and found an Indian burial mound is in the middle of California Avenue, 165 feet north of Foster Avenue, at what today would be 5215 N. California Avenue.
Chicago, Tribune, Sunday, August 30, 1903 - page 41.
CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE.
Fourteen skeletons were found arranged in a circle, with their feet pointing to the center of the circle. The Indian tribe was probably Potawatomi and lived in the Bowmanville Indian Village. The account further described the location as “when California Avenue is opened, the site will be in the highway.” Today this location is in the shadow of the Swedish Covenant Hospital complex.
Looking north on California Avenue from a few feet north of Foster Avenue. The burial mound would be located within the red highlighted section.
A second reference to this burial location is found in the book "Evanston, Its Land and Its People," published in 1928, on page 65, by Viola Crouch Reeling of the Fort Dearborn Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
"A gravel pit excavated on the Budlong farm in Bowmanville in 1904 disclosed to view a grave containing fourteen skeletons buried in a circle, with their feet toward the center. The bodies were apparently well preserved until exposed to the air, when they crumbled, leaving only the skeletons. This was probably a Potawatomi Indian burial mound."
There is no record that the 14 bodies were relocated. 

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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