Ardenwood – A historical farm thriving in Silicon Valley

If the dictionary meaning of ‘museum’ is ‘a place where things of historical, scientific or cultural importance are stored and exhibited,’ I would say — Ardenwood Farm in Fremont,...

If the dictionary meaning of ‘museum’ is ‘a place where things of historical, scientific or cultural importance are stored and exhibited,’ I would say — Ardenwood Farm in Fremont, California is nothing less than one.

Ardenwood is a historic farm that dates back to the mid 1800s. It is a farm still in operation, cultivating crops and rearing farm animals just as it did a 100 years ago. What makes this farm stand out is the fact that it has kept its past intact and now proudly shows it to those who might be interested in agriculture or curious to know what life was like back in the day.

I belong to the latter category — the curious. And I wanted my little one to be exposed to some farm history, so visit, we did. At the entrance of the farm we were welcomed by a huge ancient tractor tiller, almost like a promise that this place had interesting things to show to us.

We walked to what might have once been Ardenwood Depot’s ticket counter, picked up our tickets and headed inside the farm. What caught our eye next, was an old fashioned waiting room and wooden rail cars — proof of Ardenwood’s own rail history. And one of the first few info. boards that got my attention told the story of a time way back in the late 1870s, when railroads were being laid in this part of the world. It said that George Patterson who owned this farm was not in favour of it and did all he could to prevent the railroads from intruding his property. But when he was away honeymooning, the railway people influenced his guards with the help of a few bottles of intoxicants and barged into the compound and did what they were there to do.

The tracks remain to this day and are still used for joyrides around the farm. The farm — I must return to talking about it — still wears most of the farm equipment and still treasures its age-old farm machinery and also preserves the tractors that graced its fields over the years of its long history.

Ardenwood farm is the place to see Hay Forks, Scythes and Hay Knives used in the olden days. We also saw corn shellers and a few other machinery used in the corn room. Then there were old wood burning stoves and utensils that have now become antique pieces. Other things that stood out were the tractor shed (with out-moded tractors standing tall within them), really old wheelbarrows, wooden trailers and even what looked like charming (horse-drawn) carriages from a long time ago.

What I liked most about this place was seeing its historic farm equipment and machinery lying around the farm instead of being placed in neat rows in an air-conditioned room where they look out-of-place and almost uncomfortable.

Note:

  • Ardenwood Historical Farm is at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, Fremont, CA.
  • The farm is open from 10 to 4, Tuesdays to Sundays
  • You might also want to check out The Patterson Mansion and the Blacksmith Shop, both within the farm premises. The blacksmith is open Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
  • If you are interested in seeing some olden days’ farm tools you might want to step into the visitor center at the entrance. 
  • And if you are visiting with kids, you could show some farm animals, even take them on a train ride in the farm. 
  • The cafe maynot be open so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to carry some snacks and water, maybe even a picnic  lunch.
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18 Comments on this post.
  • Prasad Np
    9 February 2014 at 6:59 am

    I think with huge farms there was a need for mechanization in US once slavery was abolished. As they say necessity is the mother of invention. It is always good to know about places that are preserving a piece of history for the future generations.

    • dNambiar
      10 February 2014 at 2:42 am

      It was fascinating to see old farm equipment and vehicles and all. It would be nice if city kids in our country had places like this to go to — to see farms, farm animals and learn the way of life at the farms.

      (I remember a post somebody wrote about a place like that. I forget which city it was close to but that was the only time I heard of something close to this.)

  • R Niranjan Das
    9 February 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Interesting farm. Wish there were more such museums everywhere. It is always nice to go back and study history. Thanks for sharing this, Divya!

    • dNambiar
      10 February 2014 at 2:44 am

      Exactly. It would be great for kids. Several farms around here let children go and take part in the farm activities. Great idea, alle? 🙂

  • Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ
    10 February 2014 at 4:29 am

    interesting post…. Nice farm and museum… good photos…

    thanks

    • dNambiar
      12 February 2014 at 4:36 am

      Thank you, Krishna. 🙂

  • Rahul Bhatia
    10 February 2014 at 6:18 am

    Oh this post was unusual and away from the regular track of touristy places, Divya:) Enjoyed reading and pictures were as good as ever!

    • dNambiar
      12 February 2014 at 4:40 am

      This is more like a place for locals to visit. It's a nice place to take kids to. And for those who are interested in architecture, the mansion would be a great attraction. I so badly wanted to see the Victorian building but couldn't fit it in that day.
      Someday. Of that I'm sure. 🙂

  • magiceye
    13 February 2014 at 1:30 am

    Interesting place to spend a day. Lovely captures. Loved the 1st pic the best!

    • dNambiar
      14 February 2014 at 12:52 am

      Interesting indeed.
      That building makes a cute little railway station, doesn't it? 🙂

  • Nikhil
    13 February 2014 at 4:19 am

    Seems like a lovely place. A place which reminds us of the history. "Classic " would be the apt word. 🙂

    • dNambiar
      14 February 2014 at 12:53 am

      Thank you.
      Welcome here, Nikhil. 🙂

  • Indrani
    13 February 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Those old stuffs are maintained so well. Makes interesting display!

    • dNambiar
      14 February 2014 at 12:56 am

      I really like the casual display. Isn't it so much better than being neatly arranged and put behind glass cases?!

  • Rajesh
    14 February 2014 at 6:44 am

    Interesting set of images.

    • dNambiar
      16 February 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Thank you, Rajesh. 🙂

  • umashankar
    16 February 2014 at 8:01 am

    Divya, I would have been on cloud nine were I to visit that farm in my childhood. I am glad you are treating your children with that trip. I still love abandoned places for the mystery buried in their bosoms.
    It's a lovely post!

    • dNambiar
      16 February 2014 at 7:47 pm

      It was quite an interesting place. I returned kind of disappointed because I wanted to so badly do the Victorian mansion tour and could not do it. I'm so attracted to Victorian buildings. I wish I could have shown you that gorgeous mansion too. 🙂
      I hope you are doing well, USP. 🙂

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