The Carver County Historical Society is now in our final year of the Jeffris Family Foundation challenge campaign for the Andrew Peterson farm. Knowing this, people are asking how we are doing and what we are doing at the farm, so it feels like a great time to bring everyone up to speed.

If you have driven by the Peterson farm lately, you may have noticed many dead trees laying in the field just south of the main house. The trees that were cut down, surrounded the foundation of Sarah Peterson’s house. Sarah Peterson (no relationship to Andrew) owned the property after the last of Andrew’s children died. She built a house along the driveway just south of Andrew’s house. When Ward Holasek purchased the property, he wanted to build a new house on the north end of the land. Due to zoning rules, he was forced to choose between tearing down Andrew’s or Sarah’s house. He chose to tear down Sarah’s, saving Andrew’s, even though Andrew’s was much older. When Sarah’s house was torn down, the foundation was left intact, making it a danger for visitors. A few months ago, staff literally stumbled upon a cistern by the foundation, which we were unaware of. The cistern had a lid, but over time it had shifted, leaving enough space for one of our staff to step into.

In addition to the cistern, we had an arborist assess the trees around Andrew’s house and the foundation of Sarah’s. Many of the trees surrounding the foundation of Sarah’s house were either very old or in the process of dying. With the knowledge of the cistern and the condition of the trees, the decision was made to fill in the cistern, remove the foundation and remove any dying trees. The process produced a level spot which is now safe.

Many of the trees around Andrew’s house are very old and are in the process of dying. In fact, one ash is 140 years old! Several cedars are visible in an 1885 photo making them at least 136 years old. The hardest part of the arborist’s assessment was the realization that the emerald ash bore is a year or two away from arriving at the farm.

With the coming of the Emerald Ash bore, we realize that more trees will have to be removed in the next few years. We have put into place a plan for removing trees and replanting. What you will see is more ash being removed and more apple and sugar maple trees planted.

In the next year, you will also see major changes to the house. The porches will be torn off and new porches matching those in the 1885 photo will be built. The metal roof will be removed, and wood shingles installed. The house will be stripped of the old lead paint and repainted the same color as it was in 1885.

The Jeffris Family Foundation challenge campaign will end June 30, 2022. We have raised $300,000 toward the $500,000 needed by that date. If we reach the $500,000 goal, the Foundation will give us an additional $250,000. The funds will be first used for the farmhouse, with any remaining funds to be used for the granary and the south barn.

We will be hosting our first fundraiser at the farm on October 1st. The event is sponsored by Melchert Hubert Sjodin, Thrivent, MidCountry Bank, Chaska Machine & Tool, Inc., Peterson Company Ltd and Marta Beckett Homes - KW Integrity. The event will include a catered BBQ dinner from Iron Tap, dessert from Bakery on Main, wine from Parley Lake Winery, and music from Traveled Ground. Activities will include a silent auction; wine pull and a program with a full update on the vision of what the farm will become in the future. The event will be held in the loft of the middle barn, which will be the first time you will be able to see the vision of what the building will be used for in the future, be it weddings or conferences. Tickets are $50 and are available on the CCHS website or by giving us a call at 952-442-4234.

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