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What's In Your Backyard? Minooka's Mastodons
In 1901 in small-town Minooka, farmer John Bamford worked his farm. As he dug in his backyard, widening his spring-fed well, he came across something strange. At first, he thought the obstacles were tree trunks, but upon closer inspection, the ‘trunks’ turned out to be huge bones, teeth, and other parts that didn’t belong to any creature he recognized. Mr. Bamford kept his finds, storing them in his cellar. Several years later, after hearing rumors of this strange find, George Langford Sr. traveled down to Minooka to retrieve the fossils and bones, in turn handing them over to the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.
Thanks to the generosity of the Field Museum of Natural History, Head of Collections William Simpson, and the Gantz Family Collections Center at the Field Museum, these bones have returned to Minooka for a limited time. Take a peek into the prehistoric past and visit these unique specimens in person at the Three Rivers Public Library District’s Local History Museum housed at the Minooka Branch at 109 N Wabena Ave in Minooka, IL.
The museum will be open for visitors during library hours every other weekend beginning December 3rd and 4th. The museum will also be open Monday evenings from 4 p.m-8 p.m. To schedule a viewing during other library hours, contact Three Rivers Library’s Local Historian Michele Houchens at 815-467-1600 x207.
Photo Caption: George Langford Sr. sits with the mastodon tusk found on the Bamford farm in Minooka in 1901. Mr. Langford was instrumental in bringing the find from Minooka to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL. Photo courtesy of George Langford, III, Sc.D.