by Joni Astrup
Visitors to the historic Oliver Kelley Farm on Sunday turned back the clock to see an 1860s farm in action. They pumped water, shelled corn, helped craft a wooden piece for a hay rack, got a close-up view of animals like oxen and pigs, saw mashed summer squash being made and participated in other activities at the Minnesota History Society site in Elk River.
Devorah Connor, of St. Louis Park, said they were frequent visitors to the farm before COVID-19 hit. Sunday was their first visit back since the pandemic.
Asked what they like about the farm, her husband, Korey, said, “Literally everything.”
Devorah said she likes the authenticity of the historic farm and how everything is very hands on for visitors.
The farm reopened June 3 after being closed for much of the last year due to the pandemic.
A National Historic Landmark, the farm was the home of Oliver H. Kelley, founder of the Grange, the first successful national farming organization. The 1860s farmstead, modern visitor center and farm lab showcase the story of farming, food and agriculture — past and present.
The farm is located at 15788 Kelley Farm Road, 2.5 miles southeast of downtown Elk River on Highway 10. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. For more information, go to https://www.mnhs.org/kelleyfarm.