Returning to our tour of Minnesota Historical Sites, today's offering is The Oliver Kelley Farm. Located on the Mississippi River between Elk River and Rogers, the Oliver Kelley Farm is a living history farm and education site.
When you visit, you step back in time to a farm in the 1860s. Stocked with animals like horses, cattle, pigs, and sheep, period-attired docents will teach you about livestock and crop farming on the American frontier. You can feed the chickens and collect the eggs, take a turn weeding the garden, or pet the lambs. Pump water, rake the lawns, and fork hay for the cattle. If you've ever wondered what it was like to be a pioneer farmer, The Oliver Kelley Farm is the place for you!
Tour the barn, which features grain and fodder storage upstairs and animal quarters down, the animal pens, the corn crib, and other farm outbuildings.
You can also tour the Italianate-style house built in 1874 where you can learn to churn butter, make soap, and cook a meal for farmhands of the 1870s.
A new addition to the site is the Farm Lab, which details the progress of farming from the 1860s to today. Through the gardens, the livestock, and the crops, as well as the advances in machinery, you can walk through the inventions and scientific progress made in agriculture.
In addition to the farm, you can take several nature trails along the Mississippi, see fields of wildflowers, and hike through the forests.
When you visit the site, you'll also learn about Oliver Kelley himself, as well as his family. Born in Boston in the 1820s, Oliver Kelley is best known for organizing The Grange, the first nationwide organization of farmers. The Grange was created to help farmers battle falling crop prices and rising transportation costs.
Kelley immersed himself in what was then known as "Book Farming," learning and implementing the latest scientific methods on his farm. He was also a land speculator, and while he saw some success, the crash of 1857 damaged his finances severely, and he lost his property in MN. Several years later, he was able to buy back the Kelley Farm, though he split his time between Minnesota and Washington DC where he worked in the Department of Agriculture.
You can learn more about The Oliver Kelley Farm by visiting the Minnesota Historical Society at: http://www.mnhs.org/kelleyfarm
Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.comwhere you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!
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