Born in Joliet, IL on his fathers 50th birthday. Paul’s parents are Francis and Marie Siegel and grandson of Frank and Gertrude Siegel. Francis was born in Troy Township in 1907; Marie was born in Chicago IL. Paul is the 6th born of 9 children, 5 boys 4 girls. Jeanne 1938, Larry 1939, Dick 1952, Art 1954, Anita 1955, Paul 1957, Mary 1959, Beth 1960, Joe 1964.
Francis’ first job and before beginning to farm was a salesman for John D. Rockefeller at the Standard Oil Co. Marie’s first job before becoming a house wife was a student and teacher. Paul went to grade school at the Cathedral of St. Raymond’s Catholic School in Joliet, High school at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and then got his associates degree in Agricultural Production at Joliet Junior College.
All of Paul’s adult life has been spent working on his family farm. Following in his Father’s and Grandfather’s foot steps, Paul Siegel nurtures his love of growing family, the land and diverse business acumen. In the 1970’s Paul and his brother Art farmed the family’s land as well as many surrounding farms in Lockport, Joliet, Dupage, and Troy townships.
They even sod-busted Stateville property (pasture land that had not grown crops before) in the late 70’s.
Paul and Art supplemented their row crop income (corn and soybeans) with selling seed corn, trucking and in the summer growing and selling sweet corn and other vegetables, which Paul still does today. For ten years they also had a business building Grain Storage on farms and for elevators. In the late 70s they added a small green house for flower sales.
Paul was raised in the farm house his father Francis was raised in, with 7 brothers and sisters. Paul lived at home in his family’s farm house with his parents until he was married. The Siegel’s homestead house is still lived in today by one of Paul’s sister’s with her family.
Paul married his wife Susan Huston in 1980. Paul and Sue have 4 grown children: 3 sons, Jason , Zachary , Kyle and a daughter Kaitlin. In the 1980’s Paul and his wife added a Garden Center and extended the retail season into the fall by adding pumpkins and squash to crops they grew and sold. In 1990 the family opened the first haunted barn, a small straw maze and petting zoo and the Fall Fest, now Pumpkin Fest, was born.
In 1995 Paul and Sue purchased Arts’ interest in the businesses then known as “Siegel Bros. Farms”.
In the mid 1990’s the green house was expanded into a Garden Center carrying many new hard to find varieties of annual and perennial flowers and vegetable plants along with lawn and garden products, and they added more knowledgeable staff. Later that fall Paul expanded the fall offerings to include a haunted hayride, however, the very rainy fall made that a one year adventure. Paul could see people really wanted to be scared, but he was not going to depend on mother nature ever again. There was a big, scary grain storage building on the farm that was not being used so the following year (1996) Statesville Haunted Prison was born! Statesville started small the first few years but before long the public were screaming more and more.
In July of 1997 Paul had his own big scare when he almost died after he suffered a heart attack; the doctors called it a “Widow Maker”! With much love and support from family and friends we all pulled together. When we thought it couldn’t get any scarier that same year, Zach had a terrible farm accident at only 14 years old. He got his left foot and leg got caught in a 12” grain auger. Zach was helping dad finish harvesting corn when in an instant his life almost came to an end. As with Paul’s tragedy God was right there at our side giving us the strength and support we all needed to get through it all. A few years later Zach picked himself up and took over the satellite Sweet Corn Stands, which took some pressure off of Paul and Sue. A few years later Kaity opened her own Corn Stand in Shorewood continuing the 4th generation of the Siegel family tradition of Entrepreneurship.
In May 2000 Paul and Jason took a pilgrimage to Rome during the Holy Year for Jason’s high school graduation. While there Paul had the extreme pleasure of attending a private Mass and audience with his Holiness Pope John Paul II. Then after returning home Paul was named Father of the Year by the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative because of an essay written by Kaity about how she was affected by all that happened in 1997. She competed with 50,000 other students for the honor. Then if all this wasn’t enough Paul was appointed to the Will County Board in December 2000. God has truly blessed our family!
Through out the 2000’s our Pumpkin Fest continued to improve and expand with more Affordable Family Fun on the Farm. Sue expanded the Garden Center by continuing to find the newest, best, most unique plants for all around your yard. Statesville Haunted Prison also expanded to 2 haunted houses with the addition of City of the Dead in 2003. Statesville as been voted/rated the #1 haunted house in the Midwest by Hauntedhousechicago.com for 9 years with about 20,000 square feet of pure terror!
In 2008 oldest son Jason married Sara and together they have 4 beautiful girls; Molly 2001, Madison 2008, and twins Mia and Miley 2010, who just might be the 5th generation of Siegel’s to farm our land. Paul’s family purchased the farm in 1909 and the Siegel’s have farmed it continuously ever since.
Jason works as the Director of Scientific Recruitment at The LaSalle Network in Chicago. Kyle has worked at the Forest Preserve District of Will County since 2008. Zach and Kaity are active in the family farm business.