By 1934, the Kaskes still owned 90 of the original 202 acres. By the 1960s, the Bieker's home and barn sat on about 44 acres of land, most of it on the other side of Columbia Avenue.
Town residents soon came to love and enjoy seeing this wooded area bestride Columbia Avenue. Picturesque year round, the dense woods were rich and green in summer and gloriously incandescent in autumn. Neither Helen Bieker nor the Munster community wanted the land developed for business or commercial uses.
Kaske House Set in Bieker Winter Woodland
In 1968 the Munster Board of Parks and Recreation and the Munster School Board jointly purchased the 32 acres on the west side of Columbia Avenue. The middle school and administration building were built to the south, while the Park Department kept most of the wooded section along Ridge Road. Named Bieker Woods in honor of the Biekers, this property has primarily been left in its natural condition except for the addition in 1980 of walkways and footbridges.
Surrounded by heavy traffic and a rapidly growing town, the remaining 13-acre wooded remnant of the original 202-acre Stallbohm farm resisted change. Mrs. Bieker stubbornly turned down offers from commercial interests to purchase her property. The one exception was the two acres on the northeast corner of Park and Columbia which were purchased in the early 1980s by the St. Paul Episcopal Church.
In 1986, Mrs. Bieker sold the remaining 11 acres of the old homestead to the Munster Park Board with the condition that she could live in the house for the remainder of her life. When she died two years later, the care of the land reverted to the citizens of Munster.
As a result of Munster Parks matching funds awarded from a Department of Natural Resources grant, the property east of Columbia Avenue known as Heritage Park is currently undergoing a woodland restoration project. Dedicated individuals like forester Gina Darnell, botanist Naida Lehman, Master Gardeners, volunteers, neighbors, Munster Parks personnel, and members of the Munster Historical Society have been planting trees and working hard to assure that the woodland will be restored to its natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.