ABOUT THIS BOOK
Now available for the first time in paperback, Farm House tells the story of the first structure built on the Iowa State University campus. Mary Atherly provides a comprehensive history of the Farm House from its founding days to its role as the center of activity for the new college to its second life as a welcoming museum visited by thousands each year.
Construction on the little red brick house on the prairie began in 1860, two years after the state legislature passed a measure providing for the establishment of the State Agricultural College and Model Farm. In the 1860s, as the only finished house on campus, the building was the first home for all new faculty members, farm managers, farm superintendents, the college’s first president, and their families. In the 1870s, after the college officially opened its doors, the Farm House also served meals to as many as thirty people each day, most of whom boarded there.
As the college grew, the house became home to the deans of agriculture; it was expanded in 1886 and renovated in the 1890s. After the last dean of agriculture moved out in 1970, the Farm House was lovingly restored to its nineteenth- and early twentieth-century appearance. Now a National Historic Landmark, it opened to the public as a museum on July 4, 1976.
This second edition includes a discussion of the archaeological dig of 1991, which carefully excavated the area under the Farm House, and thoroughly documents the extensive renovation and reconstruction of the exterior of the house during the 1990s. New photographs add to the first edition’s rich array of images and a foreword by Gregory Geoffroy, ISU’s president since 2001, adds to its historical content. The history of Iowa’s only land-grant university and its impressive cultural and educational impact on the state and the nation as it evolved from model farm to college to modern multipurpose university is inseparable from the history of the Farm House.