Hiking to the next farm took me past markers for 1854 and the first railroad line to Iowa, the American Civil War (1861–1865), and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. The path then turned in at the 1900 farm.
For many of us, this is the image we had of farms when we were growing up—more settled, larger than the pioneer farm, with barns that seemed to inevitably be painted red.
Interpreter Erin related that farms were self-sustaining. Animals were fed from the crops grown on the farm. The farm family ate what they grew—and ate what was in season or what could be “put up” for the winter.
Even in 1900, crop rotation was done, but soil was also enriched with manure. Manure management was, in fact, a big concern, as it is today. You didn’t want to have so many animals that you ended up with more manure than you could use on your fields.
Trains made it easier to get crops to market, and made it possible to get factory-made items to farmers. Houses were nicer, often with white picket fences. Stoves were common by this time, many of them fueled by corncobs.