a family legacy
Otto and Brita Erickson raised their four children, Edward, Betsy, Kristen, and Andrew, on the
farmstead. In 1893, Edward purchased the land from his father and married Olivia Sara Ostrom, from
Vasterbotten, Sweden. Edward and Olivia raised their family on the farmstead. They had seven sons and two daughters.
Starting in the 1920's, Edward Erickson and his sons began to open a variety of businesses, including enterprises into retail grocery and merchandising, called Erickson Stores. They also ventured into oil, opening the businesses that would eventually be know as Holiday Service Stations and SuperAmerica Service Stations.
The family left the property for a few years after the Depression, but purchased the Farmstead back
in the 1960s. The Farmstead was restored at that time.
"The Erickson Farmstead is significant as a well-preserved early twentieth century farmstead associated both with Isanti County's important potato growing industry and with a prominent local family. Largely constructed during the first quarter of the century, the farmstead represents the prosperity experienced by area farmers during the peak of Isanti County's potato boom. Potatoes became the county's most important cash crop during the 1890s; potato production reached its peak in 1920. The Erickson farm was first developed by Otto Erickson, who immigrated from Sweden in 1868 and became one of the first settlers in the area. Following a common pattern of land transfer from one generation to the next, his son Edward began farming the family operation about the time of his marriage in 1893. Edward replaced the original farm buildings with the present ones after his farming operations had prospered and stabilized early in the twentieth century. The farmstead, distinctive in the county for its impressive scale and extremely well-preserved condition, represents the upper limits of the prosperity achieved by successful area farmers during the county's most successful years of potato production."
Excerpt from the Minnesota Historical Society http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/nrhp/nomination/80002071.pdf
The Erickson Farmhouse, a three-story building with a peaked roof and square in shape, was built in 1915. This home would have been one of the largest homes in the area at the time of it's construction and was a testament to the success of the Erickson family’s potato farming business. Three generations of potato farmers grew up in this home.
One of the traits that make this house distinctive is the narrow planked maple floors throughout the entire house. The Farmhouse also has five bedrooms on the second floor. Two bedrooms share a Jack-and-Jill style half bath. There is also a detached shower room and one bedroom with an attached full bath.
The third floor of the Farmhouse is a large, open loft. With windows facing to all four points on the compass, the loft is light, airy, and tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Farmstead.
A Different Way of Life
The farmhouse relied on a “Summer Kitchen” that was built about 15 yards away from the backdoor of the farmhouse, and was used by the servants and hired help. This reserved the main dining room for the family. Therefore, there was no need to update the farmhouse with a full kitchen. The kitchen in the farmhouse is located in the original pantry for the home.
A Working Farm
The Farmstead was primarily a potato farm. Because of that, there are two large potato cribs on the edge of the property. These structures were used to store the potato harvest through the winter. This allowed the farmer to sell their crop when prices were the highest. Being below grade and below the frost line they could regulate the temperature and humidity. The summer kitchen was built on the same space as a third potato cellar, which now acts at the basement for the summer kitchen.
Other farm buildings that have stood the test of time are the cattle shed, the water tower, and the Carriage House. The Cattle Shed is a pole barn that was used as a livestock “run-in” and later had a concrete floor installed to house farm equipment and hay. The water tower was built in 1915 and gave the farmhouse the ability to have running water.
Fast Forward to 2018
Dennis and Julie Davis have an undying love for the old places hidden away. The farm quickly stole their hearts away and it wasn’t long after visiting for the first time that they knew that the Farmstead was in their future. Many ideas were considered (A restaurant? A bed and breakfast? A retail space?), but the one that captured their imagination was a wedding and gatherings venue. January 12, 2018 the Davis’ became the proud owners of the Farmstead. They look forward to many years of celebrations, barn weddings, family reunions, and gatherings.
Love old places? Know how to paint?
We recently acquired the Erickson Farmstead and are working quickly to prepare it for your next event. It takes time, elbow grease, and a lot of work to fix up a farm, but we're tackling it one project at a time to revitalize the Farmstead's natural beauty. Follow the restoration projects on all the social sites and through our newsletter below (we promise not to spam your inbox).
Are you interested in helping out with the refurbishing and TLC of the Farmstead by pitching in a few hours of elbow grease for projects, have a unique skill set, or want to get the details for our upcoming work days? This is the place to be to get the particulars on how to get involved.