Historic New Lenox house now a Will landmark
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org October 31, 2013 9:42PM
The Francis-Walker house at 519 E. Francis Road in New Lenox recently was approved as a historic landmark by the Will County Board. | Susan DeMar Lafferty~Sun Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2013 11:07AM
The Will County Board has designated a New Lenox house as a county historic landmark, joining a list of other sites that include a cemetery, a store, a cabin and two schools.
The 146-year-old house at 519 E. Francis Road, known as the Francis-Walker home, is now surrounded by homes on the former Francis family farm.
The well-preserved house is associated with prominent local citizens George Francis and Daniel Walker, according to the county’s historic preservation commission, which recommended the landmark status to the county board.
Francis, born around 1855, was the 10th child of Abraham and Mary Francis, who brought their family to Will County in 1835 and established a successful farming operation. Their sons became farmers and were involved in government service or business. George farmed the west part of the farm and operated an equipment business.
Walker moved to the property from Wilmington in 1939, leaving his previously rented farmland due to the construction of the Joliet Arsenal. The Archibald family of New Lenox arrived in the area as a result of the arsenal, and the two families remained friends over the years.
Walker and Archibald were permitted to move their Quonset huts to their farms in New Lenox. Walker’s farm was distinctive because the Quonset hut and two barns were on the south side of Francis Road while the house and fields were on the north side.
In the later part of the 20th century, the outbuildings on the farm were torn down, and the land became a residential subdivision known as Walker Country Estates.
The house is one of the only original buildings left in the area and is located near Francis Field, also a county landmark, which is used for 4-H activities.