One of the last remaining pieces of farmland in Naperville -- and the last acreage that belonged to one of Will County's first settlers -- is making the classic suburban transition.
It's becoming houses.
The Naperville City Council unanimously approved a plan by resident Nick Stanitz of Oak Hill Builders & Developers, Inc. to construct 61 houses on the 31.5-acre site at Book Road and 103rd Street on the city's south side.
Plans call for two-story houses between 3,400 square feet and 4,000 square feet that will join the Clow Creek Farm Homeowners Association, which governs a subdivision to the west of the site. Stanitz said he will use stones from historic farm structures still on the property to construct a memorial to the Clow family along Book Road.
The developer will offer the Naper Settlement historical museum a chance to photograph the 1840s-era buildings first, but they are not structurally sound and will be coming down.
"We can't always save buildings, nor should they always be saved," council member Judith Brodhead said. "But it's nice to have some photographic record."
The land was the last parcel of a swath of Naperville and Bolingbrook that settler Robert Clow, along with his six sons and two daughters, bought in 1844 for $1.25 an acre, according to a 1983 book called "Naperville Area Farm Families History." The family's settlement eventually totaled 640 ares, or one square mile.
Betty Clow, 96, after the death of her 57-year-old daughter Julie Clow in late 2016, sold the land to Stanitz's firm. He said she had higher offers from out-of-town corporate developers, but chose a local business that would work well with neighbors.
The council's unanimous approval granted two zoning variances, one that decreases the side-yard size and another that allows two of the 61 lots to be smaller than the 10,000-square-foot minimum for the low-density single-family residence district.
Now one more farm field, which operated as a dairy farm until as recently as five years ago, is becoming part of the suburban sprawl.
"It's sad, but I think this is a great project," said council member Becky Anderson, a lifelong resident who has watched the city grow. "It's hard to see the last bits of farm go away."