Slate Run Historical Living Farm
Stepping across the threshold of a wooden park shelter and onto a gravel path, visitors are transported in both time and place. The time? The 1880s. The place? A farm where roosters crow incessantly, horses whine, and sheep blat in the field. Here, chickens waddle freely across the trail and birds fly overhead in the barn.
Slate Run Living Historical Farm is located along the winding roads of Route 674, in the northeastern corner of Pickaway County. Maintained by Franklin County Metro Parks, Slate Run Living Historical Farm reenacts the daily life of a family living on a mixed economy farm at the end of the 19th century. Volunteers and staff members preserve the skills and lifestyle of this era. They dress in costume and do the chores that were essential during this period of time. They plant vegetables, harvest crops, collect eggs, feed the animals and cook on a wood stove. Authentic machinery and tools are used and all of the crops and vegetables are heirloom— meaning they were produced in Ohio before the 1900’s.
The farm, in its 31st year of operation, is free to the public and provides guided tours if desired. Otherwise, visitors are encouraged to view the farm at their own pace. The barn allows them to get close to the farm animals with only a wooden gate as a barrier. Along with the barn they can tour the residence that housed eight people, showcasing common toys of this time and the food preservation strategies that were necessary without the luxury of refrigeration. Seasonal activities are also available for guests of any age, including a gardening program or a maple syrup hike.
Ann Culek, farm program manager, says her favorite part is “watching the light bulbs go off in peoples’ heads.” Both adults and children experience this “a-ha” moment when witnessing the historical aspect of the farm as well as the stunning beauty of the nature. They realize how much progress has been made over time and how diverse this life is from their own.