In 1835, Walnut Grove Farm was homesteaded by the Charles family. They came to Illinois seeking the personal success that the rich prairie had to offer. Deeply involved in both community and farm, the Charles family established a cattle farming empire that grew to more than 1,200 acres by 1890. They built the bank (main) barn, now the centerpiece of the farm, around 1865, using stone quarried from the farm for the foundation.  (Follow this link to read the homesteader's description of his barn.)

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, Walnut Grove Farm is a prime example of how farming has evolved as a result of pioneering rural development. The 19th century farmstead, while in the process of restoration, is a working 21st-century farm. The main barn is now used to host special events and weddings, as well as drying flowers.

Over the years, the main barn at Walnut Grove Farm has been featured in the National Smithsonian Traveling Barn Exhibit; as the first model in a "Barn Again" Ertl Collectibles edition; on the cover of Successful Farming magazine; on the cover of the Galesburg area phone book; in John Deere's '98 calendar, in the book, The American Barn; and in various local news and newspaper publications.

Along with help of Barn Again!, Walnut Grove Farm began the on-going process of renovating and maintaining the beauty of 19th century farmstead living.

Special thanks to:  family, friends and the many visitors who are the support system that keeps the barn a vibrant part of the community.

Jan King has dedicated much her life to the preservation of Walnut Grove Farm. Realizing that the best way to preserve an historic farmstead is by sharing it with others, Jan and her husband, Rich, host thousands of visitors yearly at the farm during Knox County Scenic Drive, Christmas at Walnut Grove Farm, the Walnut Grove Farm Guest House as well as numerous private weddings and events. With the help of extended family, friends and the “Barn Pals”, Walnut Grove Farm “belongs” to a larger community that love the history, beauty and meaning of the place.