Civil War Days at the Naper Settlement

5.15 civil war days3

If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with those old reality shows/documentary series where they stick regular people in time specific places and they have to live as people would during the time. It all started with watching the 1900 house on PBS with my mom.

A couple months ago I was enthralled by a “tourist infomercial” about New Salem, IL. It’s a historic settlement type of place where they have old buildings and show tourists about the old way of life. I think it would be so cool to work or volunteer at one of these types of places. My brother or Matt said “what would you do there?” and I said “Well, I know how to use a spinning wheel and I can garden.” I’ve just been having a conversation with coworkers about how I’ve been wanting to go to one of these types of places.

On Saturday we went to the Civil War Days at the Naper Settlement in Naperville, IL. The Naper Settlement is something I’ve heard about for years and years, but I’ve never visited it. Driving by yesterday, we could see the grounds were filled with white canvas time appropriate tents. Through the fence I could see all sorts of people in period clothing. I immediately started getting excited. I brought my camera to share some pictures from the day.

5.15 civil war days2

There was a battle, which was crazy loud. I couldn’t really see over the crowd and the cannons were so loud I could feel the air hit me. After a while I wandered off and spoke with a woman who was working on lace.

5.15 civil war days8

After the battle was over we went into the school room where we found an oil lamp had knocked off the wall from the shock of the cannons. Apparently they close all the buildings during the battles because for exactly this. My brother said he noticed the windows to all the surrounding buildings vibrated with all the gun fire.

5.15 civil war days6

My two favorite things had to be the printing building, naturally…
5.15 civil war days5

and the thing I was hoping most to see… a person developing daguerreotypes
5.15 civil war days10

I had such a good time and can’t wait to do more of these types of events. Dare I say, become a re-enactor myself. The day couldn’t pass without recalling the book Choke by Chuck Palahniuk, and an episode we recently saw of Big Bang Theory, where they visited a renaissance fair.

You can see more pictures from the Civil War Days at my flickr.

5 Responses to “Civil War Days at the Naper Settlement”


  1. 1 Mim

    Cool way to spend the day! Our neighbors are Civil War re-enactors which is cool until they come home and have to clean out their muskets. I always ask them to warn me that it’s going to happen but sometimes they forget ;)

    And how intricate was that lace set-up! I can not imagine having to keep all of that straight!

  2. 2 Wendy

    This looks like it was a lot of fun, and very interesting too. I’ve been to the RenFaire and loved it, wish I had known about Civil War Days sooner. I was just watching Ken Burns’ documentary The Civil War, too!

  3. 3 katie

    my mom used to be a huge civil war buff, so a lot of our family vacations were planned around going to big reenactments across the midwest. i haven’t thought about that in a while. . . it is fun though! okay, i’m off to look at your flickr pictures now. ;)

  4. 4 shaded oil lamp

    Just what exactly will be the best spot to order a really good oil lamp

  5. 5 e cigs

    I completely agree with the comment above me, the web is without any doughtgrowing to be the most important medium of communication across the globe and its due to websites like this that ideas are spreading so quickly.

Leave a Reply