Your Opportunity to Visit the Great Depression
Your visit back to the year of 1932 will begin at our well stocked Visitor Center. Farm baked pies, jams and jellies, hand made wooden toys, books and gift items are tastefully displayed for your browsing. As you leave through the back door of the store a shuttle will be waiting to transport you back to the historic complex. Along the way you will experience some of the history of the community of Wellington and view some of the farming operations that are currently going on.
Your first stop will be at the Stittsville Church, where you will be greeted by a trained docent who will be your guide for the next hour or so. They will take you inside the church and explain some of the history of the church and talk about some of the artifacts on display there. From the church, you will make your way to the Summer Kitchen. On the way, you may be provided the opportunity to view our big Advance steam engine up close. You may even be able to have your picture taken while you are at the controls.
In the Summer Kitchen, your guide will explain to you what life was like for the women of the farm during the Great Depression and show you many artifacts that are often still put to use during demonstrations and special events.
From the Summer Kitchen, it's only a short walk to Crafters Alley. Here you will have an opportunity to view the Basket Maker’s Cottage, Loom House, the old logging railroad grade and the Broom Maker’s Shop. At the end of Crafters Alley is John Schram’s Blacksmith Shop. In front of the Blacksmith Shop is an Adams Leaning Wheel Grader. Like most of the buildings at Wellington Farm, the Blacksmith Shop is a reproduction, but it is also fully functional, and often on weekends you will find a blacksmith hard at work at the forge.
Next stop is Junior Wakeley's Sawmill where you will get a breif history of the logging era and the part this mill played. Behind the sawmill is the Carpenter Shop which is chuck full of interesting things to see. Your guide may show you artifacts which have played a significant part in the history of our country, and others which played a significant part in the history of this tiny community of Wellington which is no longer in existence.
Next is Perry Lamkin’s Broom Handle Factory. Here you will see the original broom handle lathe and the very first belt sander. Both were invented by Perry in the 1880’s. Henry Ford saw these machines in the 1930’s and requested that they be sent to the Ford Museum.
The last stop of your guided tour is the Grist Mill where, if the miller is in, you may be able to see cornmeal or barley flour being ground, corn being shelled or grist being ground for the animals. If you stay long enough you may experience a lecture on corn or the on the importance of the miller in the Depression Era Community.
After your visit to the Grist Mill, you are free to roam about the farm at your leisure, re-looking at some of the buildings, talking with some of the demonstrators who may be present or hiking one of the Nature Trails. The Livestock Barn is always and interesting stop for the younger set and nearby you can witness the Annis Farmstead Exhibit which is now under construction. The 1927 Montgomery Ward House is scheduled to open during the 2019 season. When you are ready to return to you car, just have a seat in the red chairs in front of the Grist Mill and the shuttle will come by and return you to the Visitor Center. On the return ride, you will have an opportunity to view more of what Wellington Farm has to offer, including a ride through the beech/maple forest and a brief explanation of forest ecology. You will also have an opportunity to view our Mainstage where musical programs and storytellers are presented throughout the season.
Your tour ends back at the Visitor Center where you started and, when it's completed, you will be able to 'top-off' your tour with a visit to our Museum where you will have an opportunity to view various plows which were used to farm Northern Michigan years ago. One such plow is highly significant and exceedingly rare.
All in all, when you leave Wellington Farm, USA, you will find that your life has been enhanced and your knowledge of another place and time has been greatly expanded.