Fern Dell Historic Association

9 East Front Street

P O Box 254

Newark, Illinois,  60541


last updated 2/3/2015



       The first major project of the Association was to move the one room Fern Dell School from it's former location on Fennel Road to a permanent site in the Village of Newark, near the grade and high schools.  After the move was completed, the school building was restored as it appeared in the early 1900's.  The one room schoolhouse setting is complete with the addition of an outhouse and a cob shed.  Fern Dell School is open by appointment, during local festivities, and also accomodates area grade schools for field trips.

       The second major project was the purchase and restoration of the blacksmith shop on Main Street.  History tells us that this blacksmith shop was built in the early 1830's by young Fletcher Misner, hence the name, Misner Blacksmith Shop.
       The building was purchased in 1988 by the Fern Dell Historic Association.  After much planning, it was stripped down to the original stone building, sand blasted and tuck pointed.  A new roof, windows and doors were installed in 1996.  A stone and brick forge and hearth were completed in 1997.  The building interior has been refurbished and fitted with blacksmith equipment and a working forge, similar to the original shop.  Misner Blacksmith Shop is open daily, with a talented blacksmith on duty.
       A much smaller machine shop, of wood construction, was donated and moved onto the lot and is being refurbished.  The building will also be fitted with older blacksmithing tools.

       Acquiring the historic Leland Hatchery Store building in April 2008 is the largest and most involved addition to Fern Dell's collection of buildings. The museum 's front room has raised displays as well as some additional lighting.  A Newark basketball display highlights boys' and girls' basketball through the years.  A new acquisition is a 1903 map of Kendall County (4 ftx 4 ft).  Currently we are working on the back room of museum for larger displays.  We are also collecting histories of local families as we have received numerous donations of scrapbooks.  Fern Dell  recently received a large donation of tools and Indian artifacts upon the closing of the Old Barn Museum.

       Our latest project is the addition of another historic building directly East across the street from the main Fern Dell Museum. Here is an early 1900's picture when it served the community as a hardware store and then as it appeared after it was acquired in 2014.

       This latest building will serve well to house and preserve much of our farm community's rich history and culture. With the additional space, we now have on display in both buildings many historic items which were previously in storage.

   The Fern Dell Historic Association is asking the community for ideas to name this latest very important museum building. Please give this some thought, visit us and share your ideas.