Living history museum tells of farm life PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 08:29
Barns located on the Carter Farm. (Photos: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune
Some of Sally Carter Loomis’ fondest memories in 98 years were made at her family’s farm
Though she died in 2009, Sally is still helping to pass some of those memories along to those who visit the Carter farm, now a living history museum operated by the Wood County Park District. Near the end of her life, Carter aimed to do just that by passing along the farm, preserved to resemble the 1930s when she helped feed her family by tending to animals and harvesting crops by hand.
Even that part of life was different then. The only reason Sally was allowed to do the farm chores she loved is because her parents, Everett and Edith May, sired no sons to take on the chores.
"If her father went out to do some work, Sally was on his heels," said Pam Menchaca, senior naturalist for the park district.
Sally attended Zimmerman School, and that building stands just down the road, also as a monument to local history. Sally met her husband Lyle when he had to sit on her lap on a crowded school bus one day. They married in 1934.
After years of moving around in nearby states, Sally inherited the farm from her mother in 1974, and the couple moved there in 1976. In the 1990s, she became involved in historical programs at the school and also hosted children at her home, sharing stories and using the farm as a teaching tool.
Following in the footsteps of her mother, who donated the first piece of land that would become Carter Park in Bowling Green, Sally arranged for a conservation easement to protect her family's farm and turned it over to the park district in 2001.
Dining room of the Carter Farm.
Baby shoes at the Carter Farm.
"That is in their blood. She must have gotten that from her mother," Menchaca said.
The transfer occurred Nov. 18, 2001, exactly 100 years after Sally's grandfather, Jeremiah Carter, purchased the land from Charles W. Evers, a former editor of the Sentinel-Tribune.
A master plan guides the park district's approach to the property, outlining Lyle and Sally's wishes that it remain as green space committed to agriculture and education.
The house contains some items that belonged to the family, and others that are period pieces contribute to a rustic appearance inside a home that has gone through some modernization. But authentic furniture, appliances and an old piano retain the feel of a trip back in time.
In a county with such deep roots in agriculture, the Carter Farm offers opportunities to teach about area history. And in an era of factory farms, much of that history is lost on children who have never known otherwise.
Menchaca recalled a student who visited the farm and, like many others, simply didn't understand where food comes from, even denying that the chicken she enjoyed during a meal was once a live bird.
"The meat that they see doesn't look anything like the animal it came from," Menchaca said. "They have no idea. There's such a disconnect with what's on our plate."
One of the plans as the farm continues to progress is for a heritage garden, where crops can be grown and the farming experience passed on.
Menchaca's message to children who visit? "The fresher your food is, the more nutritious it is."
"You've just never seen such joy in a child when they dig into the ground and find a potato."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 10:16

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