Storied Past, Bright Future: Crooked Lane Provides Insight Into Centennial Farms
COLFAX, ND – Over 100 years of North Dakota history lies at the end of the narrow gravel path leading up to Crooked Lane Farm.
“My grandfather’s roots go back to fishing in Norway. He felt the allure for, ya know, America, I think, and thought he’d give it a try as well.” said Brent Larson, co-founder of Crooked Lane Farm.
Brent’s farm has been in his family for nearly four generations.
Preserving its history is a special task Brent took up after retiring from teaching at the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton School District.
“It’s just kind of important to me, and I think again that there are stories to be told.” said Brent.
If the soil could talk, it would tell you the stories of hardships on the prairie during the dust bowl…
“It was not a good time because there were no crops. They were pretty self-sufficient, you know they grew their own food and so on, but the drought just compounded it that much. And so about the only redeeming thing was that everybody was kind of in the same boat.” said Brent.
And the grounds would tell you that the farm is preserving a piece of American history, and the value of the North Dakota Farm Family.
“Not many people can say ‘Well I live in the same house that my grandparents or great grandparents did.’ When you have a centennial farm there is something kind of special about that somebody is connected with their ancestors.” said Brent.
“One of the things I regretted and I think just about everybody does is that they didn’t ask enough questions when they were young or when they had people that now have past.” continued Brent.
Crooked Lane Farms continues to embody the spirit of a true North Dakota Centennial Farm, and the Larson’s are cherishing the opportunity to share a little piece of their family history.
But not just the family history is displayed here. It’s also a constantly expanding museum of the town of Colfax…
“A man I grew up with, we were in grade school together, and he had never seen it, but there’s a picture of his dad as a school picture that’s in the barn and I said ‘This is your dad here’ and he said ‘I’ve never seen that picture’ and he’d call people to come over and say ‘You gotta see this picture! That’s my dad on that picture!’ ” said Brent.
It’s also a place for visitors to look at the life of North Dakota farmers over the last century.
“I certainly appreciate today’s technology and so on, but I have an appreciation for the past too. Some people might know what a circle saw is. I don’t want to do it all day and I don’t want to do it for business, but for a little demonstration or if somebody wants to see it, it’s like ‘This is kinda cool!’ ” said Brent.
The farm still has some crops, but now-a-days, it serves a different purpose.
Educating and entertaining the community.
And whether you’re at the farm for one of the Larson’s many classes…
“Lifelong learners are something that we have an appreciation for. I guess I feel like I learn something everyday and I catch myself saying ‘I learned something new today, I didn’t know that before!’” said Brent.
Or for one of the concerts…
“It’s a chance for neighbors to visit with neighbors and take a little weight off their shoulders so to speak.” said Brent.
There’s a little something for everybody.
So if you’re ever struggling to find something to do in North Dakota…
“I would say they’re probably not looking hard enough.” said Brent.
You should take a closer look.