Franzosenbusch Heritage Project
Prairie House Museum and Nature Center
Upon completion the
Prairie House and Nature Center will serve several functions:
A gathering place for prairie tours,
lectures, programs, classes and events with a meeting room available for use
by conservation, scientific, historic, cultural, youth and civic
An educational facility for students,
teachers and the general public including prairie tours, natural history,
botany, biology, ecology and native ecosystem restoration programs.
- An authentic replication of the first
Lutheran schoolhouse in Proviso Township.
- There is also information on histories of
the early days of this German farming community and of the villages of
Westchester / Hillside area will be featured.
- The Prairie House Gardens present a
colorful blend of native plants and formal designs.
- A place to celebrate special occasions
and join in ceremonies, performances, art exhibits and historical
- A time capsule of
19th Century lifestyles and cultures only a moment away from the sights and
sounds of the 21st Century.
The interior public
areas of the Franzosenbusch Prairie House and Nature Center include:
- (A & B)
Significant areas of the 1853 schoolhouse (the area in light blue) remain as
a part of the Prairie House. The public can observe the schoolhouse
interior of the restored schoolroom
and teacherís quarters with appropriate artifacts and furnishings as is was
when used by the German Lutheran community of Franzosenbusch. The
schoolhouse had two rooms:
A) The school room where up to 15 students were
taught in German.
B) The teacher's quarters where the teacher and his family
lived. A "loft" above this area was padded with hay and served as the
sleeping area for the teacher's children.
- (C) The schoolhouse
viewing area from which visitors can observe the schoolroom and teacherís quarters.
From this area you can see both rooms of the schoolhouse.
- (D) The main nature
display gallery which will help the public understand the environment of
the Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve.
- (E) The activity room
where adults and children can work on educational projects and enjoy the view
through the large windows.
Grounds of the
Franzosenbusch Prairie House and Nature Center include:
- (F) The wraparound
observation deck from which the public can relax and observe the life on the
- (G) The porch
serves as a public gathering place.
- (H) The front gardens
contain a mix of native prairie plants and selected non-invasive species.
- (I) The northern gateway
to the prairie walks of Wolf Road Prairie..
- Parking will be in the existing parking spots to the west of the House on the south side of Constitution Drive.
Displays for both the
schoolhouse and the nature center are under development. We hope to expand and
enhance these displays each year upon completion of the historically sensitive
renovation and construction.
Last Modified: 03/02/2017