Visit the historic farmstead in Elk River to see what life on the farm was like back in the 1860s

By Claire Noack

Take a walk back in time at Oliver Kelley Farm‘s historic farmstead. Located in Elk River, the 1860s working farm is part of the Minnesota Historical Society and educates visitors on what farming and life were like without modern technology. Not only is Oliver Kelley Farm a great place to dive into Minnesota’s history and the story of the Kelley family, visitors also get hands-on experience that children and adults alike can enjoy. Get the true experience of working on a farm by pumping water from a well, meeting the farm animals and tending to the crops. From the learning kitchen to the food lab, visitors will learn all about the food we grow, how agriculture has changed over time and how food gets from farm to table. The Oliver Kelley Farm also has nature trails to explore and seasonal programs throughout the upcoming months. Check the farm’s website for seasonal hours and admission prices.

Harvest Days

Oct. 20-22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Roll up your sleeves and take part in the action to help Oliver Kelley Farm prepare for the end of the harvest season. Join the community by getting out into the field to harvest the remaining crops and store produce for the winter. In addition to the farm’s everyday programs and activities, visitors can make corn husk dolls and join in a corn husking bee or quilting bee.

A Yankee Thanksgiving Tour

Nov. 18 & 19, tours start at 1 and 2:30 p.m. each day

Get a taste of what Thanksgiving was like 150 years ago when it first became a national holiday. Visitors take a 90-minute guided tour around the farm, meet the animals and take a peek at a traditional harvest celebration in the historic house. Pie and refreshments will be served after the tour in the visitor center.

Christmas on the Farm Tour

Dec. 9 & 10, tours start at 1 and 2:30 p.m. each day

Learn how farmers and animals coped with the harsh Minnesota winters back in the 1860s. On the 90-minute guided tour, visitors will explore the grounds, see the farm animals, take a bobsled or wagon ride (weather permitting) and warm up by an outdoor bonfire. This event is a great way for kids and history buffs to see how a family like the Kelleys would celebrate the holidays on the farm. After the tour, taste test treats from different decades and sip on a warm drink in the visitors center.


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