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Day Trip: Cannons, soldiers head to Naper Settlement

Civil War Days commemorates 150th anniversary

Published: Friday, May 9, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Michael Kramer/Naper Settlement)
Visitors won't need a time machine to check out the Civil War when they tour May 17-18 at Naper Settlement in Naperville. This year, Civil War Days commemorates the 150th anniversary of the war.
(Photo submitted by Donna DeFalco)
More than 300 re-enactors will bring the Civil War to life May 17-18 at Naper Settlement in Naperville. Guests may join forces with historic figures, such as Abraham Lincoln.

NAPERVILLE – The quiet of Naper Settlement will be broken by the sounds of battle this month during Civil War Days.

The settlement is a living history museum that will mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with a 2-day encampment of more than 300 re-enactors. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17 and 18. At 2:30 p.m each day, a battle will be fought.

The Civil War is not new to the staff of Naper Settlement. The encampment has been part of its season for more than 25 years. Of particular interest is Sutler’s Row, where visitors will be able to purchase reproduction products of the era.

To put a modern twist on a visit, look into the world of geocaching, available through October. Geocaching is a game of treasure hunting outside with a global positioning system. It involves the location of a container that has a logbook and “treasure” of very little value.

Guests who are interested in the hunt may pick up a geocache sheet and rent a hand-held GPS for $1 a unit at the lobby desk. Personal GPS devices are welcome.

Another option is the OnCell Tour. Visitors can use their phones to guide them throughout the stops of the settlement. The tour is available at www.napersettlement.com.

For the more traditional tour of Naper Settlement, guests will find 19 locations to explore from the Pre-Emption House to the Carriage House. Also on the list are the Paw Paw Post Office, which is Naperville’s first post office; the Copenhagen Schoolhouse as it appeared in 1870; and the Murray House, built in 1842.

While the settlement doesn’t have on-site food services, picnic tables are available. City restaurants are nearby, as Naperville’s downtown district is within walking distance of the museum.

Those who don’t mind standing and walking for long periods might want to look into a day trip within a day trip. The settlement will have a Historic Chicago Bus Tour at 8:30 a.m. May 31. The cost is $65. The group will go to Graceland Cemetery for a guided tour, followed by a stop at the Chicago History Museum. The bus will return to the settlement at 4:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 630-420-6010.

Whichever way one chooses to visit Naper Settlement, it promises to be a rewarding experience.

If you go

What: Civil War Days

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 17 and 18; battles at 2:30 p.m.

Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville

Cost: $15 for adults and seniors, $10 for 4-12, free for younger than 4

Information or tickets: Visit napersettlement.org or call 630-420-6010

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