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Three Rivers Public Library District
Enrich, Educate, Entertain, Evolve

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Locations:

Main Library - Channahon
25207 W Channon Drive
PO Box 300
Channahon, IL 60410
Phone: 815-467-6200
Fax: 815-467-4012

Minooka Branch
109 N Wabena Avenue
PO Box 370
Minooka, IL 60447
Phone: 815-467-1600
Fax: 815-467-1632

What's In Your Backyard? Minooka's Mastodons

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 Art by Charles R. Knight. American mastodon enjoying the warmer habitats of the last Ice Age.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 on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month beginning in August.  The museum will also be open Monday evenings.  These hours are subject to change.  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 1910.  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.
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.


 

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