Turn-of-the-century agriculture on the prairie

Published: Jan. 20, 2020 at 6:33 PM CST
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Farming has evolved from horse-driven implements to steam power and today's high tech industry.

The machinery that drove the business at the turn of the century has been whittled down into an exhibit that captures the essence of what life on prairie was like a hundred years ago.

You can step back in time by strolling around this detailed agricultural diorama.

"Here's an eight bottom plow that was probably pulled by a steam engine," said Arlyn Schmidt.

All of the wooden pieces in this miniature replica of the Chris Martel farm were carved by Marvin Martel.

"He could take a piece of nothing and make something useful and beautiful out of it. He just had that knack," said Schmidt.

Marvin born on a farm and throughout his life spent much of his spare time carving the buildings, animals and implements he grew up with.

Schmidt said, "Everything is set up exactly as it was on the farm and some of the farm buildings are still out there."

The structures and machinery that didn't stand the test of time, are enshrined in wood.

"That's a thrashing machine and it's driven by horsepower. Over there you'll see that marry-go-round with four teams of horses hitched to it that runs a pulley that extended out and run that thrashing machine before there was even steam engine power," said Schmidt.

There's a whole lot agricultural history to take in here.

"It's something that you can look at for an hour or two and you probably didn't see everything and you'll want to come back and look again, especially when you start looking at detail," said Schmidt.

When Marvin Martel passed away, the town of Medina acquired his huge collection of carvings. then built a museum to display them in as a tribute to pioneers and homesteaders so future generations can get a glimpse of what life was like on a family farm.

The museum is open by appointment. There is no cost to tour the exhibit but free will donations are accepted. To see this extraordinary display, stop at the Cenex Station or Medina cafe and ask for Arlyn Schmidt, or give him a call at 486-3420.

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