Story and photos by Theresa Rose
Just east of I-25 on County Road 58 between Fort Collins and Wellington, lies a lesson in history for everyone to see. Beginning in 1882, when the Bee family settled in the Fort Collins area, the farm chronicles the life of a family on the Colorado prairie. From farm equipment to household amenities, visitors can time-travel from the earliest days of homesteading to the farm’s present day incarnation as a museum and learning center. The farm has many activities for children to experience “the old days” which include gathering eggs, washing clothes on a washboard and grinding corn.
The history of the Bee farm is the history of the Northern Colorado Agricultural industry, including the evolution of irrigation and the emergence of sugar beets as the most valuable crop grown in the area, as well as pinto beans, corn alfalfa barley and wheat. Water on the property was what was known as “hard water” loaded with minerals and unsuitable for household use such as washing clothes, cooking and drinking. One of the vehicles on display is the “Water Wagon” in use until 1962 to haul river water from a location on Cherry and Mason streets for the family. Along with an array of farm equipment from horse-drawn to tractor-hauled, the farm has preserved a fleet of automobiles dating back to 1924. These vehicles have been carefully maintained and restored and include models such as a 1936 Nash Lafayette and a 1947 Chevy Fleetwood. Also on the farm are turkeys, chickens, a calf, cow and bull, and a throughly charming pig who will roll over to have her belly rubbed.
The farm is on the National Register as a Historic District. Special events include the Pioneer Living Day which focuses on life as it was lived 100 years ago. The farm is open to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays from May through October. Hours are 9 am to 4 pm. Appointments can be made by calling 970-482-9168. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors 60 and over and $3 for children 3 to 12 years old. Children under 3 are admitted free.
Visit the website for more information, news about special events and a video of the history of the farm at www.beefamilyfarm.org or visit facebook.com/BeeFamilyFarm.