about the history of how the
Bourbonnais Township Park District came to be.
| The wild side of Perry Farm
Check out some of the plants and animals that can be seen at Perry Farm Park.
PERRY FARM PARK
Park District maintains the Perry Farm Park, a dynamic 170 acre
recreation area carefully carved in one of the most beautiful
natural settings in the state.
of all kinds find enjoyment in the wide array of activities the
park offers including 4-miles of fully accessible paved paths
that wind through natural prairie, woods and riverfront of the
Perry Farm site. To preserve its natural setting, no motorized
vehicles other than Park District maintenance equipment are allowed
on the trails.
a fruit tree orchard, picnic areas, memorial rose gardens and
flower gardens and gazebos as well as an Illinois Nature preserve
area highlighting Indian Caves along the Bourbonnais Creek and
ravine make this stretch of the Kankakee River and its shores
as beautiful as any in the state.
- 170+ Acres of Natural Prairie, Woods and Canyons
- Oak Meadows, Indian Caves/Geological Area and Fruit Tree Orchard
- Picnic Areas/Pavilion/Gazebos
- Dedicated Nature Preserve
Farm offers many fun activities for all ages. Whether you're planning
a family picnic or a large group outing, the Park District offers
room rentals, hay rides, tents, picnic kits, cross country ski rentals,
nature walks, and picnic site reservations at reasonable fees. Activity
applications are available at the BTPD office in the Perry Farm
House. Reservations are made on a first come, first pay basis. Some
activities are seasonal and not available all year.
Click here to learn more about renting picnic
sites at Perry Farm Park.
If you have a group visiting the park and farm areas it is recommended to call the Perry Farm House prior to your visit at (815) 933-9905. The Perry Farm hosts many large events and to get the most out of your visit it is always best to check out what is going on at the park before you visit. For bus transportation, please use the parking lot at the Exploration Station...a children's museum. Please remember that there are no bus turn around areas or parking at the Perry Farm House and farmstead areas.
Miles of Walking Trails
Perry Farm Trails are open from sunrise to sunset 365
days of the year. Wheel, roll, ride, walk, or stroll the completely paved trail through woodlands and prairies.
It is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and visit with friends.
Please remember to be courteous to others enjoying the park trail.
Pets are welcome, but remember to keep them leashed while in the
park and dispose of waste properly.
The Bourbonnais Geologic area, locally known as the Indian Caves,
is located within the Perry Farm Park along the Kankakee River.
The geological area includes the Bourbonnais Creek and ravine
and covers approximately 30 acres of land. The Bourbonnais Geologic
area features a dolomite cliff and cave community, or a set of
caves that lie close together.
The Indian Caves are small, narrow caves that are not easily accessible for people to explore inside. The deepest cave is about 20' long through a very narrow crevice entrance. Due to the dangers of getting stuck, slipping and drowning, it is not recommended for anyone to explore inside the caves.
September 16, 1996, Governor Jim Edgar authorized the dedication
of the Bourbonnais Geologic Area as an Illinois Nature Preserve
to protect it against vandalism and other destructive activities.
Bourbonnais Geologic area is open year round and its public use
is limited to walking, exploring and observing nature. Please
remember to take care when exploring the cliff and creek areas and to take care of this rare natural resource.
Perry Farm House
Perry Farm House, circa 1866, serves as a Visitors Center
and provides classroom and office space for the Park District. Information
is available in the farm house on Park District programs and special
events as well as other recreational
opportunities and community events. Registrations for Park District
classes and recreation programs are accepted during office hours
and a drop off box is also
located on the west porch, near the parking lot, for after
hours program registration convenience.
Farm Park Living History Area
The Perry Farm Living History Area is part of the ongoing
preservation of the Perry Farm property by the Park District.
The Living History Area is located in the front of the park
and consists of the Perry Farm House, a 25-foot by 35-foot
horse barn, an English barn and farm animals.
Perry Farm House was built in the 1830s by Thomas Durham,
the first American settler of the property. Durhams
daughter and her husband, David Perry, remodeled the house
in 1855. The upstairs of the farm house contains much of
the original circa 1840 woodwork, architectural hardware
and original Norfolk door latches.
The downstairs retains circa 1855-70 integrity associated
with the remodeling. The structure of the farm house is
much like other houses of its day with a stone fireplace,
spacious living area, small kitchen and second story. Several
from the late 1800s and early 1900s are on display in the
The Three Bay English Barn dates back to the late 1830s
or early 1840s and is believed to have been built by Durham
before the farm house. The barn is currently undergoing
restoration under the supervision of the Perry Farm Living
History Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of
local residents dedicated to preserving the history of the
Learn More about Living History Committee
The horse barn has its entrance in the gable end walls which
face the house and yard. It was constructed shortly after
the Three Bay English Barn during the early to late 1840s
and was constructed with the same traditional heavy timber
construction techniques as the English Barn.
A variety of farm animals on the Perry Farm are a popular
attraction at the park. Most animals are on site all year.
Although the animals will eat most anything, visitors wishing
to feed the animals are asked to utilize the feed machines
that are placed in various locations around the animal corrals.
The feed in the machines contain nutrients that are part
of a well balanced diet for the animals.
|Thomas Durham Memorial
A memorial marking the grave site of Thomas Durham was dedicated
in May 2000. Durham is remembered by historians as the first American-born
settler in the Bourbonnais Grove. Durham lived on the farm for
19 years. Durham died on March 13, 1854, and was buried just west
of the farm house where a tree orchard once stood. Durham and
his wife, Margaret, had 12 children. The memorial site features
a bricked area decorated with urns, two benches and a stone
marker. A millennium garden compliments the memorial.
Fruit Tree Orchard
The Centennial Fruit Tree Orchard serves as a permanent memorial
to St. Marys Hospitals one hundred year anniversary
of their commitment to serving every member of the community.
The orchard was donated to the community by the
hospitals medical staff, the Kankakee County Medical Society
and the Kankakee County Medical Society Alliance. It was dedicated
by Sister Marie Mason in 1997. The orchard contains several kinds
of fruit and nut trees as well as grapevines. The pubic is welcome to pick the fruit. Ladders or climbing on the fruit trees is prohibited.
Memorial Rose Garden
The Burkhalter Memorial Rose Garden is located at the flagpole
just south of the Perry Farm House. The garden was dedicated on
July 10, 1999, in honor of the first BTPD Board President, Harry
D. Burkhalter. The garden contains hybrid tea roses, a variety
of shrub roses and a meditation bench. Peach roses were a favorite
of Burkhalters and are in abundance in the garden. The rose
garden is a tribute to Burkhalters undying dedication to
the community and his eleven years of service on
the Park District Board of Commissioners. He retired from the
Park Board in June 1998.