With spring bursting out all over, take the time to discover the remnants of the JH Redeker Peonies farm located on the grounds of Spring Valley in Schaumburg.   The beautiful, fragrant flowers can be approached from both the Vera Meineke Nature Center and the Volkening Heritage Farm on the Spring Valley property.

Spring Valley will be sponsoring a tour and an overview of the Redeker peony farm on Sunday, June 8.  Drop by anytime between Noon and 4 p.m. and you can view the descendants of the original peonies that grow there today.Peonies

In 1927, John Redeker, son of Friedrich and Wilhelmine (Boeger) Redeker, used some of his mother’s Boeger land to start a wholesale peony flower and root business.  Unfortunately, John died suddenly on December 29, 1930 at the age of 30 and the business survived for only a short time afterwards.  I was told that, not only was it a struggle to keep the business going during the height of the Depression, but peonies grown in the St. Louis area were available one to three weeks earlier and could easily be shipped to the Chicago area by new refrigerated trucks.

By 1932 John’s mother sold the property to Frank Merkle who used it as a getaway for his family.  When staying on the farm, they lived in the Adirondack-style log cabin built by John Redeker that still stands on the Spring Valley property.  Frank Merkle must have attempted to continue the peony operation for a while because one of our oral historians said his brother, George Engelking, worked for him tending the flowers.

You don’t want to miss this special time of the year viewing these nearly 90-year old plants.  They’re gorgeous!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

One Response to “PEONIES APLENTY”

  1. Brennen Redeker Says:

    Hello, John Redeker was my great-uncle. I visited my grandfather, Hermann Redeker, and saw the cabin in 1981- at the time someone in a sort of “aside” mentioned that John had been killed (shot off the roof of the cabin no less!) by the Feds for stilling whisky- as there is no mention of HOW “John died suddenly,” I think it might be true. Any help with divining the veracity of this story would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks,
    Brennen Redeker
    p.s., I may come to visit in a year or so- I would love to meet with someone familiar with the area that might point out some highlights etc. Many thanks again

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