The Adams Wildlife Sanctuary in the 2300 block of Clear Lake Avenue was donated to the Illinois Audubon Society by Margery Adams, whose family had owned the property for more than 100 years.
Margery Adams (1897-1983) lived in the home on the property her entire life. She was a Sunday School teacher for 60 years, an accomplished seamstress and an award-winning cook, according to an Audubon Society brochure.
The Adams family was among Springfield’s earliest settlers — Margery Adams’ great-grandfather, James Adams, a political opponent of Abraham Lincoln, was the subject of Lincoln’s “Sampson’s Ghost” letters — and the Clear Lake Avenue home dates from 1857.
Margery’s grandfather, Lucian B. Adams (1816-82), a local justice of the peace, bought the property in 1869. Her father, James (1848-1931) established a truck farm and orchard there, and a 1900 census reported that the orchard had nearly 1,800 fruit trees.
“After Margery’s father died in 1930, the orchard and truck farm ceased as a business and nature began to replace the orchard with the overgrowth seen today,” the brochure says.
Margery Adams belonged to the Audubon Society and donated the 40-acre property to the group on her death. The Illinois Audubon Society designated the property as its headquarters in 2006 and added a wing to the original house to accommodate its staff. The acreage now includes woodland, prairie and wetland habitat; bird banding at the sanctuary has found nearly 80 species of birds using the property during migration.
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