The site of many school field trips focused on how life on the farm was before electricity could use some improvements, and those running the place are hoping that a fundraiser next month can help them out as they plan for a bigger and better 2020.
The Pomeroy Farm will play host to a dinner and auction Sept. 14 with the intent of raising $10,000 to help fund work on two of its historic buildings. Maura Todd, marketing coordinator for the farm and great-great granddaughter of farm founder E.C. Pomeroy, said the money will help the blacksmith shop, which needs general structural repairs, including work on support beams and its roof. The other project would be the continued rehabilitation of the farm’s barn, the second phase of repairs to the barn which began in 2017 with support replacement and addition of siding. For the second phase of its rehabilitation, the roof will either be repaired or outright replaced.
The Sept. 14 fundraiser will be the first of its kind at the farm, though the property is no stranger to gatherings, having played host to private events that also help fund the farm’s mission, Todd said. Through relationships with similar farms, they got the idea to do a dinner auction, with farm staff having attended those events in the past.
The fundraiser will feature live music, a photo booth, tours of the grounds and yard games, Todd said, with dinner catered by As You Wish catering. Since going forward with the event, Todd said support from local businesses has been encouraging. Some have donated toward the auction or sponsored the fundraiser outright. She said the farm is pursuing grant opportunities to complement the fundraiser money.
Farm history, mission
The farm got its start in 1910 when E.C. Pomeroy bought an old 160-acre farm north of Battle Ground, according to the history page on the farm’s website. The farm had two fires that destroyed buildings, one before the rest of Pomeroy’s family made the move from Oregon to the farm and one in 1920, a result of burning bed sheets after the family contracted smallpox.
The replacement of the farmhouse built after that 1920 fire still stands, and Todd said it was lived in by family members up until the 1970s. Now it is filled with vintage and antique memorabilia from the decades it was a functioning farmhouse, the vast majority of which was accumulated by the family over generations.
The nonprofit for the farm was established in 1989 by Bob Brink, who married into the family, and Lillie Plowman Freese, Todd’s grandmother. The farm hosts field trips in May and October during which students can see a slice of life on a farm before electricity was ubiquitous. Todd said last year the farm had more than 2,500 students attend the trips.
The farm also hosts a Country Life Fair in recent years, which features living history demonstrators and exhibits on the property, and in the fall they open “Pumpkin Lane” for the public to pick the seasonal gourds.
Todd said the farm plans on expanding its offerings in 2020, explaining there’s recently been a “dip” in how often the place was open to the public. Before any expansion can happen, the farm needs some help, which Todd hopes will come from those taking part in their September event.
“I know people love us and I know they want to support us. They just might not realize that we need their support,” Todd said.