History & Culture
The cultural history of the Midewin site prior to its designation as a national tallgrass prairie in 1996 can be divided into three broad periods of time. Each of these periods have left their mark on the Midewin landscape and will affect aspects of Midewin's restoration.
On Saturday, June 4, 2022, USDA Forest Service employees and volunteers hosted a public program to re-dedicate a statue of an arsenal worker and to honor the history of the workers who “served on the home front,” during WWII at the Joliet Arsenal. The arsenal was active where Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is located today.
Alvin (“Al”) and Robert (“Bob”) Schumacher recently brought together four generations of their extended families to the Iron Bridge Trailhead to share their stories of growing up there on the Schumacher family farm – "Fairview Farm" – in the 1930s.
Before Euro-American Settlement
Several Native American cultures had lived or were living in the tallgrass prairie region a long time before Euro-American settlers arrived.
After Euro-American Settlement
Early in the 19th century, European and American settlers began moving into southern Illinois and making their way north into the Great Lakes region.
The Joliet Army Ammunition Plant
In increments, land where the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant was active during WWII is being transferred from the U.S. Army to the USDA Forest Service.
Genealogy and Ancestry
Are you researching your family ancestry? Thank you to volunteers who created this directory, which includes many of the pioneers who lived in this area during the Euro-American settlement period.