The Friends’ property is adjacent to the Madison School Forest.
The 72 acre farm was acquired by the Friends in 1998. It was purchased to preserve and restore available farmed land and to add ecological diversity to student trips out to the School Forest.
Farming History of the Prairie
Many family names in this region have been connected with their farmland for decades and decades. This is the case with our property. This particular land came with an additional gem that outlines stories of life in Montrose Township. The Friends bought the land from the Andreas family, who called this land home from the early 1920’s. In 1978, Frank Andreas wrote an autobiography of this property from the time he and his wife, Muriel, bought the farm. Over time, this couple had eight children who were born and raised here. This picture of the homestead is in the shed on the property.
At some point, at a time before passing it on to the Friends, the Andreas family placed a painted metal family tree above the door of the farm shed (originally the site of the farmhouse). With the help of the autobiography, we were able to decipher names of children of the Andreas family.
Margaret, the oldest, was born in 1925, followed by John (1927), Mary (1928), Francis (1929), Anthony (1931), Charles (1932), Paul (1934) and Cora (1937). Recently the Friends installed a newly painted version of the family tree. Students visiting the farm will now be able to read the names of kids who were born and grew up here.
The Friends are very happy to have this update!
The Field Station At The Prairie
One very strong plus for the farm property is the metal pole barn that the Andreas family constructed on the old farmhouse site in the early nineties. It was used as a machine shed and had one interior corner room that was walled in and insulated. Over the few years the Friends has owned the property this building has been the perfect place for storage and work projects.
The shed has also been outfitted to accommodate classes of students. As our prairies grow and mature we will have much for kids to explore and learn about up in the grasslands. The shed classroom, or “field station”, will be the headquarters for orientations and indoor work relating to the science of the prairies. We have installed lighting, erected a blackboard and podium area and outfitted it with work tables and chairs. A class of 25 can easily use this set up while visiting the property.