Howell Living History Farm
Howell Living History Farm is a time machine that takes you back to the year 1900 – a time when horses and buggies traveled the lanes of Pleasant Valley, and when farms were bordered by snake fences and Osage orange trees.
You were a farmer, then…the kind that could drive a team of horses and plow a furrow with a walking plow. You could build a barn, or deliver a lamb, or bake a loaf of bread from wheat that you grew yourself. And you may have been remembered for the time you canned 200 quarts of tomatoes in a day, or the May Day you went to town in a one-horse sleigh.
Today, if it is time to harvest corn, you can ride up into a field in a horse drawn wagon, help us shock and pick corn, and return to the barnyard to help shell it, grind it, and bake it into cornbread. We invite you to help us plant, cultivate and harvest our crops, to care for our animals, to sweep our barn, to make soap, butter and ice cream, and of course to sit under the maple tree and talk about the future. (The future looks good, by the way. There are rumors of “combines”, horseless buggies and automatic ice cream makers.)
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School Group Programs
All programs except for “Farm Animals” and “Summer on the Farm” are $75.00 for in-county visitors and $100.00 for out-of-county visitors for each group of 25 people or less. (This includes adult chaperones as well).
Farm Animals is $4.00 per person (in-county); and $5.00 per person (out-of-county) .
The Summer on the Farm program is $100.00 for in-county and $125.00 for out-of-county.
Ice Harvesting: Work with farmers on the frozen pond, where volunteers from your group will help to score, cut and float ice. Everyone will help when it is time to pull the ice blocks up a wooden track to the icehouse. Blocks are lowered into the icehouse via a chute, and then packed in layers of sawdust. (If there is no ice on the pond, your group will work with commercial ice just as farmers did in 1900 if winters were mild.)
Tree Tapping and Sap Gathering: Learn how to identify a sugar maple tree. Volunteers from your group will help us tap a sugar maple tree. All will taste the sap if it is flowing before beginning the work of collecting it from the many trees in our “sugarbush”. You will load some of the sap on a horse or oxen drawn wagon to take back to the farm for syrup making.
Sheep Care: Learn about the care of our sheep as you pet the lambs, help brush the ewes, and visit the flock in the sheep yard. Help process wool using our hand cranked carding machine to prepare it for spinning. Learn about the many uses for wool products on a 1900 family farm.
Corn Planting: Learn about corn planting technology by using hand sowing methods used throughout history…and by planting corn using a circa 1900, animal-drawn seeder. Discover why seeders like this one – and why tractor-drawn seeders- are still “future” technology for most of the world’s farmers
Wagon Tour of Farming Operations: Old-fashioned horsepower will pull your wagon into a landscape reminiscent of the Hopewell Township of a century ago, when farm lanes were bordered by snake fences and osage orange trees, and when farmers still worked by hand and horsepower to cultivate their fields of corn, oats, wheat and hay. Operations vary daily, so there is no telling what you might see: a reaper-binder or haytedder in action, a flock of sheep coming in from the meadow, or a farm crew bringing in the sheaves.
School Group Lesson Plans and Resources
10:00am – 4:00pm, programs from 11:00am – 3:00pm (A calendar of Saturday events is available at the farm or on this website.) The Farm is closed on Saturdays July 16 and 23 when there are evening hayrides.
Noon – 4:00pm
April through November for self-guided tours only
10:00am – 4:00pm February through November
Tuesday – Friday (The Farm is closed on Mondays)
Closed on Mercer County holidays; Easter
Farm Admission Costs:
Free admission & parking
Fee for Children’s Crafts, Maze