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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

More About the Farm

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In reviewing what I have written over the years about my memories of the farm, it strikes me how different an experience I had from my two oldest sisters and also the next two older siblings, though maybe to a lesser extent. (For reference, I am the 5th of 6 kids; not counting a sister that only survived 19 days.) When my grandfather took my dad out to see the property for the first time, I don’t know how long it had been inactive. It is my understanding that it had become available due to a tax forfeiture and wasn’t actually in operation. My oldest sister was about a year old and still an only child at the time.

As my mother described it to me back in 2002, my dad actually got the place functioning again. Mended fences, brought in livestock, built the milking parlor. Mom said the hill house had one toilet, in the dirt-floor basement. She refused the idea, Dad promised to build a bathroom and the rest is history. Our grandparents moved into the main house and my mom, dad and oldest sister got the house where the farm superintendent had lived.

It probably deserves to be said here that my parents were city kids, growing up. They lived in some pretty nice neighborhoods around the lakes in south Minneapolis. I marvel over the fact that my mother’s family employed a live-in house servant. I think their jump to raising kids while working a farm is pretty significant. I understand why my mother would at least put a limit such as requiring a decent bathroom.

Well, they kept having kids while up at that small house on the hill until it was obvious they needed more space, and conveniently, my grandfather was doing more work downtown than nearby, so everybody moved. The grandparents went back toward the city again and my parents and siblings got to move into the main house. All this happening before I was born, and so it is not any part of my actual farm memories. I find myself telling stories about little things I remember doing around that house, or the grounds nearby, thinking I am telling stories about the farm, but it doesn’t have any relation to what my older siblings would remember about the time living in that “hill house” or the actual activity of tending to the milk cows or the sheering of sheep.

The total acreage of Intervale Ranch was 477, and we have a map that shows 37 structures consisting of multiple living quarters and barns and sheds and chicken coops and the like. By 1957 my grandfather had struck a deal to sell 414 acres to the City of Edina and the days of my dad’s farming were allowed to wind down toward an end date of April, 1959. A 4-lane divided roadway, County Road 18 (now identified as 169) was built in the early 1960s. It runs north/south and was located just off the end of one of the big barns, separating the acreage that had been sold from the 63 acres remaining that included the main house where I eventually would create my “farm” memories.

This is how the tennis court appeared before I was around.

This is how the tennis court appeared before I was around.

Notice how nice the landscape looks

Notice how nice the landscape looks

This is the way I remember it, with Dad doing much needed cutting.

This is the way I remember it, with Dad doing much needed cutting.

Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2009 at 7:00 am

Posted in Intervale

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  1. […] I could provide a link to one of them. More About the Farm seems like a reasonable start. From there you can travel to the ‘previous’ or […]


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