Located next to the historic 1864 residence of Illinois State Senator and co-founder and director of Chicago’s Union Stockyards Lafayette Funk, the Funk Gem and Mineral Museum is certainly the largest single-person display of rare gems, minerals, fossils, petrified wood and lapidary art in Illinois. And it bills itself as the largest one-man mineral collection in the world.
Funk’s grandson, who shares the same name as the cattle-king of Illinois, amassed the unusual collection before his death at the age of 95 in 1992. The building that houses the collection is covered with 30 tons of rocks of all colors. In addition to the minerals, the building is home to American Indian artifacts from the Funk farmstead.
The home itself, which sits on the same piece of property, is a museum dedicated to memorabilia and antiques collected by several generations of the Funk family, including a working Victrola. The house, state of the art at the time of its construction, features the first-ever electric kitchen island, hot and cold running water, and a lighted tennis court. The museum inside also includes an exhibit on the history of agriculture and several antique sleighs and carriages.
Know Before You Go
Located south of Bloomington, Ill., just outside of Shirley, Ill.