Unique Conservation Model Preserves Bedford Hollow

Sixty-eight acres known as Bedford Hollow near Galena, IL, is now protected in perpetuity with a JDCF conservation easement placed on it in late 2022. Landowners and long-time friends of JDCF, Rob Latousek and Brian McCormick, donated the conservation easement to JDCF in order to protect the prairie restorations, forests, streams, and farm fields on the property. One notable feature there, which JDCF revealed, is a small prairie remnant that has never been farmed and is suitable for careful restoration.

Simultaneously, Rob and Brian donated a preservation easement to Landmarks Illinois, a Chicagobased nonprofit that protects historic structures throughout the state. This preservation easement protects the 1854 limestone farmhouse on the property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the “Charles Wenner House.” (Ann Bedford, for which the property is named, was Charles’s wife, but that was unknown at the time of the listing.)

Rob and Brian spent 5 years restoring the house; it was a hollowed-out shell when they started working on it in the 1980s. This is one of only a few times where a conservation easement and a preservation easement have been combined to protect multiple aspects of a property’s heritage.