Howell Living History Farm
The Howell Living History Farm, located in Pleasant Valley, is an interactive, experiential historical museum dedicated to recreating farm life from 1900-1910. The 125 acre property and a collection of farm house, barns and outbuildings are impeccably preserved as a time machine that transports visitors, volunteers and staff back to an era where farm labor was provided by human and animal effort.
Spurred by exponential growth in visitor trips, the Director of the Farm hired our firm to provide a master plan for the first major expansion of the Farm. While the Farm has been heavily involved in the preservation and renovation of its’ historical buildings, it had not designed or built any modern facilities to support its’ mission.
The scope of our work included a master plan allowing for phased construction, increased parking and improved circulation, and location of a maintenance yard and building and a future Visitors Center. The site planning had to balance the needs of the contemporary uses with a farm requirement that the view from the farmhouse complex to all lands controlled by the Farm maintains a circa-1900 view shed. All proposed buildings and parking has to be concealed from view from the farmhouse.
Parking and vehicular circulation had to accommodate the usual 15-30 daily car visits, weekend parking for up to 200 cars, school bus arrival and departure, and employee parking. Using soil stabilization mesh, fallow fields served double duty as weekend overflow parking without turning the agricultural landscape into a sea of gravel or asphalt.
The maintenance building consists of a large pole structure and adjacent work yard that needed to be shielded from view not only from the farmhouse but also from the visitor entrance and parking. By carefully nestling the building into a sloping pine woodlot, the viewshed requirements are satisfied and convenient access to public and farm roads are provided. Our firm provided building, utility, and site design for the construction of the maintenance shed.