Marbold Farmstead

Quick Stats

  • LOCATION: Route 29 & State Street, Greenview, Menard County
  • STATUS: Saved
  • BUILT: 1850
  • SITE TYPE: Farm, Residential
  • GEOGRAPHY: Downstate
  • THREAT AT TIME OF LISTING: Lack of funds for necessary renovations
  • CURRENT USE: Historic Site
  • LI PROGRAMS & AWARDS: Recipient of Landmarks Illinois Preservation Heritage Fund grants in 2015 & 2018
  • Take Action: Visit or donate to ongoing restoration efforts.

(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

Historic Significance

At the height of its glory, the ornate Marbold Farmstead in Greenview was a showpiece structure that embodied the great ambitions and prosperity of early immigrant farming families in central Illinois. Originally called “Elmwood,” the 1850 farmhouse was built by John Marbold, a German immigrant and prominent Greenview farmer and businessman. It served as the central hub of the Marbold family farmland holdings, which consisted of over 4,000 acres. It was virtually self-sufficient, with several barns, dairy, chicken house, smoke house, ice house, boiler house and pump house.

(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

Threat at Time of Listing - 2012

By 2012, however, the once-grand Marbold Farmstead had languished vacant for a decade and was stripped of its interiors. To rescue the property, a group of locals negotiated purchase of the historic structure. Faced with a mortgage and critical repairs, the non-profit Historic Marbold Farmstead Association (HMFA) joined Landmarks Illinois in listing Marbold Farmstead to LI’s Most Endangered list in 2012.

(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

Preservation Efforts

Galvanized by LI’s Most Endangered listing, passionate members of HMFA organized into committees and prioritized repairs. Aided by a Landmarks Illinois Preservation Heritage Fund grant, HMFA completed work to secure the building envelope with repairs to soffits, gutters, and downspouts. In addition to this work on the main building, it has also worked to restore outbuildings on the property, cleaned up the grounds, replanted trees and much more. The group has also turned the Marbold Farmstead into a true living history farm, with interpretive tours and demonstrations on nineteenth-century agricultural practices. It also put on extensive educational programming, including a Farm Day for local students to try their hand at making butter, grinding coffee and shelling corn.

In addition to these programs, HMFA has added yearly events to increase fundraising and community engagement. Events include an antique show, an arts and crafts festival, trivia night, regular interpretive tours during summer months and an original stage production. In 2014, HMFA reached a major milestone, paying off the mortgage for Marbold Farmstead three years ahead of schedule. While advocates for Historic Marbold Farmstead celebrate their significant accomplishments thus far, they also want to build upon the positive momentum. As events, education and community engagement increase each year, HMFA is working to develop additional funding sources in order to continue restoration work for this agricultural gem of central Illinois.

“Our community now works to restore, preserve and recreate the historic 1880s farm where it will provide another aspect to its rich heritage – economic growth through tourism and educational opportunities to the community.” – Charlotte Wohler, President, Historic Marbold Farmstead Association

(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

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