Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Intervale Ranch

Intervale Windmill

leave a comment »

IMG_iP1625eBFCyndie’s brother, Ben Friswold, recently sent me some photos he took of the old windmill from Intervale Ranch which is still standing on the Braemar Golf Course in Edina. The course is undergoing some renovations that had us questioning the fate of the precious relic.

Both Cyndie and Ben separately contacted the course manager to inquire on their plans and let him know of our interest in preserving it. If they weren’t going to keep the old beast, we wanted to have it. Alas, the response was that they love the history of it and thus included the windmill as part of their new design.

I think this is the better place for it, but if they weren’t going to preserve the implement, we would much rather have it than see the metal tossed to a scrap pile.

I’m curious about the markings on the tail that say, “Hays Farm USA.” I rather doubt the naming would have been something my father or grandfather would have done.IMG_iP1624eBF

More likely, the city of Edina added that. In most of the historical documents I have reviewed about the property, the city identified it as the Hays Farm, as opposed to Intervale.

It has occurred to me that I don’t know if the windmill ever appears in any photos of the Intervale Slideshow I posted a couple of days ago. Wouldn’t that be something if it did.

This morning I searched for old posts on Relative Something where I wrote about the farm and discovered I did that back in July of 2009. If you are interested in reading more about the property, check them out.

You can find them under the category, “Intervale,” or navigate the “Previous Somethings” back to July 2009.

Or, 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 ‘next’ post on the subject by clicking the links just above the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Many thanks to my golfing brother-in-law, Ben, for keeping an eye on our treasured landmark, and providing the pictures used here!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 27, 2016 at 8:02 am

Going Public

leave a comment »

After trying to get permission to use copyrighted music prior to publicly posting my slideshow of the old farm property that my grandfather owned, Intervale Ranch, I have decided to accept the default automated claim that kicked in after I uploaded the video to YouTube over 10-months ago. I’m not allowed to monetize the video, which I never intended to do, and YouTube or the music license holder or both —I don’t know which— will be able to place ads on the video.

I hope I am correct that those will be the ones that viewers can click to remove as the video plays.

So, last evening, I changed the video from private to public. Feel free to kick off the rush that will send this gem viral. Might as well give the license holders their money’s worth.

Without further delay, I present, The Intervale Ranch Slideshow.

Question and answer session to follow. I invite those with inquisitive minds to post any questions the slideshow engenders by posting a comment to this post. I may use them to write a follow-up post that will fill out the detail glossed over by the sometimes cryptic collection of images.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 24, 2016 at 6:00 am

The Table

with 2 comments

When Mom let us have the old Hays family dining room table, the one thing she required in exchange was that we host the Thanksgiving meal on it. Whenever it is time to haul the 5 center leaves out of storage, to stretch the table to conference-room size, I experience a flood of memories, and an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the honor of being given possession of the family table.

IMG_3242eThis table was in the farm-house of Intervale Ranch where my family lived when I was born. It has been with me for most of my life. I snapped this shot of the expanded length prior to covering it with 12 place settings and more foods than should be allowed yesterday.

Another happy Thanksgiving is in the books.

Ah, but that’s not all. This year we get two versions. Yesterday, Cyndie’s side of the family came over. On Sunday, the Hays side of the family with gather. We’ll keep the table extended for the days between. That will prolong my period of enjoying the memories conjured up when I see it in all its glory of being full-size.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 29, 2013 at 7:00 am

Farm as History

leave a comment »

Many years later, I became curious about whether or not the city had any interest in the history of the land where the farm was located. I paid a visit to the Edina Historical Society. A woman greeted me warmly, listened with interest to my description of having lived on the property, and disappeared to see if she had any related records on the subject. She returned, wearing white cotton gloves and holding a single manila folder. In it was one simple sheet of paper. I don’t even remember what it was regarding, other than it wasn’t the least bit interesting. Entirely underwhelming experience.

However, she held out hope for me, suggesting I visit the Parks and Recreation Department at the city offices. Since the majority of our property went on to become a substantial city park and golf course, her suggestion made sense. Upon my arrival there, a clerk produced a box that was over-stuffed with documents relating to the old Hays farm property! She even invited me to take it home to review and return at my convenience. It was a Jackpot!

One of the documents I most appreciated was the handwritten original copy of a letter the city manager had written to the Mayor and city council detailing his meeting with my grandfather in negotiation over the sale of the land. He referred to Mr. Hays as being a shrewd businessman.

Back during that time period, the local newspaper published a brief article detailing the city’s proposed “Hays Park”. I know the city was trying to appeal to him to donate the land at one point. In the city manager’s letter is a detail of the offer indicating how much the land would likely be worth to developers and the price my grandfather was willing to accept from the city. The manager recommended the city meet the price.

There were vivid descriptions of the property’s rolling forested hills, meandering creek, and abundant wildlife. Initially it was made available to Girl Scout troops for camping excursions. Eventually there were some primitive facilities added. In the long run it was developed primarily as a golf course but it also included an indoor sheet of ice for hockey and figure skating (later, expanded to multiple rinks) and beside that a soccer field and a circle of three full size baseball fields with a building in the center hub. Dad used to point out that the fields were down near where the pigpens and chicken coop were at one time located. That was so far before my arrival, I marvel at the significance of the change.

In front of the fireplace and mantel

In front of the fireplace and mantel

Fireplace of that Italian stone

Fireplace of that Italian stone

Our grandparents, Forrest and Helen Hays in the dining room

Our grandparents, Forrest and Helen Hays in the dining room

Christmas in the living room. You can see a hand-hewn beam in the ceiling

Christmas in the living room. You can see a hand-hewn beam in the ceiling

Written by johnwhays

July 31, 2009 at 7:00 am

Posted in Intervale

Tagged with

Burning Barns

leave a comment »

We received advance notice about the scheduled destruction of our barns and Mom drove us there to see it and take some pictures. For some reason, Dad wasn’t available and so Mom had to do the picture taking. Photography was his domain and she felt a lot of pressure about it, I could tell. Most of the pictures she took did come out a bit over-exposed and she mentions her regret every time she sees the images.
barnburn1
It was really strange to be stopped on the shoulder of this freeway, where no stopping was allowed. We couldn’t get out of the car, but we sat on the opened windows of the passenger side and looked over the top. I saw a man go in one of the bottom doors with a can. Then he appeared at the big opening of the upper floor. He threw the can out and he jumped. Soon there were billows of flame and clouds of dark smoke. Ours wasn’t the only car on the shoulder any more as others stopped to take in the spectacle.

I wish I had been old enough to fully realize the emotion of the moment. I knew it was something dramatic, but the full depth of it was beyond me. It was the biggest fire I had ever witnessed, so that was sure something, yet I knew it was more than that and it was beyond my capacity to comprehend the full extent.

barnburn2They burned the two large barns, one right after the other. That left just the house. For some reason, they didn’t burn that down. Whatever was salvageable was removed. Windows were taken out. The huge hand-hewn beams in the living room ceiling were saved and claimed by a neighbor who had asked for them. My older brother has some of the ornate hardware from light fixtures and door handles and has incorporated it into his current home. I think he has the chandelier too.

They cleared out almost every last tree. That may have been the most monumental task of all. There were plenty, and the majority, mature. We stopped by to capture some shots of that phase. With the house nothing but a shell, they collapsed it and buried it. The land was graded so that the rolling hill terrain became a flat plain, ideal for an industrial park – a series of one or two-story brick and concrete, flat-roofed buildings. One of them has the address number 7601 on it, the same as our old farmhouse: 7601 Washington Avenue.

Washington Avenue is where the Minnesota Vikings NFL football team home office and workout facility is now located, just down the road from our old spot. For 18 years I worked for a company located just around the corner from where our old farmhouse stood. And across the freeway from the old place, next to the golf course and park, Cyndie’s childhood home, that her family had built and lived in for 35 years. I always found it interesting to have my work and my in-laws so near to the place where I lived as a kid. It has changed immensely on the surface, but it still remains at the same geographic coordinates.

I don’t have strong regrets about the loss of that farm, but I do miss it.

The back porch, before and after

The back porch, before and after

The industrial park that replaced the house and barns

The industrial park that replaced the house and barns

Written by johnwhays

July 30, 2009 at 7:00 am

Posted in Intervale

Tagged with

Back to Farm Stories

leave a comment »

I uncovered some additional writing I did years ago, describing my memories of the years I was on the farm, Intervale Ranch, or ‘the Hays farm’ as it was referred to at the time. In reality, my years there are better described as ‘after the farm’, 1959 to 1968. Since these were written at different times, there may be some overlap of detail that I hope you will find acceptable.

During the time I was on the farm, most of the tractors and machinery were already gone. My dad had built a milking parlor. Gone. There were no more animals, except for the one, or briefly two, horses that we boarded for a neighbor. The chicken coop had been turned into a clubhouse, complete with curtains on the windows. There was a rope swing in the barn hayloft, and plenty of left over hay as I recall. Other barn space seemed to be filled with junk. More of my time was spent in the house than in the outbuildings; there, and the grounds around the house and barns, …climbing trees, playing ball, swinging, running, exploring.backyard

Far beyond the innocence of my young perspective, there were deals being made. Before I was even born, the majority of acreage had been sold to the city of Edina and earmarked for parkland, an eventual golf course. A freeway had been built right behind two of the main barns, which cut off the house and closely associated buildings from the rest of the property that had been sold. The property I grew up on was a fraction of what was once Intervale Ranch.

It seemed like we just woke up one day and there was a line of earthmovers facing the house, parked side by side on a huge square of freshly leveled ground. It was kind of scary. They looked so menacing. My little brother and I went down to get a closer look. I’d never been so close I could touch a piece of machinery this size. We climbed on ‘em, because we could. It was a way to act defiant, even though it so wasn’t. We were as harmless as ants on these monsters, the coming task a foregone conclusion.

backydtractorsI don’t remember the duration of days we were still there while those machines waited. It felt like they were rushing us. I have no recollection of the move, except for the first night in the new house with just my younger brother and two oldest sisters and no furniture. There was a storm that night, fiercer than I had ever experienced. This house was much more prominently exposed than the farmhouse, which was protected by surrounding hills and many trees. That night one of the crank-out windows in the new house didn’t get closed and the wind caught it and pulled it off. That made an impression.

Written by johnwhays

July 29, 2009 at 7:00 am

Posted in Intervale

Tagged with