North Spokane Farm Museum
More Than Just Tractors At “The Red Shed”
Just 15 miles north of Spokane, off Hwy 395 on West Ridgeway Road, sits a treasure of agricultural history. Since 1996, Bob Greiff and Loretta Hall have lovingly maintained the North Spokane Farm Museum. Bob and Loretta were married in the Red Shed of the Farm Museum in June 1996 and held their reception as the Grand Opening of the museum.
Bob and Loretta each have an area of the museum that is dedicated to their early family life. These personal displays include pictures, clothing, and various artifacts from jewelry to toys to farm implements. Besides being knowledgeable about their own farming roots, Bob and Loretta have an intimate knowledge of most pieces in their museum. The collection of Ironstone dishware is impressive, and each piece has a story of its own. Each corner, wall, and rafter has something placed on it to remind visitors of a simpler way of life.
There is definitely something for everyone at the Farm Museum. There is a variety of early tractors on display in the tractor shed. Large portions of the main floor of the Red Shed are dedicated to farming implements including: a pre-1880 fully restored wooden hay rake, harrows, reapers, separators, and diggers. Guests can try out a working hand pump and a seed separator. There is a fully working 1950’s kitchen. Visitors can schedule a time to come in and use the kitchen to cook up a 1950’s dish! Upstairs in the Red Shed, visitors will find additional Ironstone dishes and a more feminine display including: jewelry, dresses, furniture, dolls, and toys. There is also an early 1900’s laundry room with a variety of clothes washing and drying equipment.
The best part of the Farm Museum is the vast knowledge of Bob and Loretta. Questions are encouraged and answers are thoughtfully given. Loretta is a retired school teacher and has a way of imparting special facts seamlessly into her conversation. Bob still works the land. He has over 300 acres of alfalfa and grains that he maintains.
The Farm Museum is expanding and changing as items and money are donated. “The Red Shed is currently undergoing some renovations, thanks to a generous donation by Chuck Lyons,” said Loretta. Bob is also in the process of restoring a 1946 International truck to add to the exhibit. The renovations do not distract from the overall experience of visiting the museum.
The Farm Museum is a 501c3 non-profit organization and relies completely on visitor donations and family memberships to keep running. Loretta said the cost of maintaining the museum rose from $3,000 to $5,000 last year. She and Bob recently filed a 99-year lease with the Spokane County Courthouse that incorporates the 10-acres the museum and house sit on. This will ensure the museum is still around after they are no longer living on it.
Currently the Farm Museum is run by a Board of Directors that consists of nine members and two alternates. The alternates are mentored along the way and “shown the ropes” to be ready to step in when one of the current members leaves. Board members stay for life or until they no longer want to participate on the Board.
According to Loretta, the Farm Museum has a few current needs the community could help provide. First, they need annual members. Currently there are about 70 families that contribute $20 a year; Loretta would love to see this increase to 300 families. She is also looking to expand the book collection for children. Families can donate early 1900’s agricultural books that are aimed at early education. Businesses can help by becoming sponsors and providing advertising in their stores or donating goods for special events.
One of Loretta’s desires is to host a wedding at the Farm Museum. Besides the educational element of the Museum, there are beautiful grounds to explore as well. Loretta and Bob have fashioned a small bird sanctuary with a variety of plants and trees that attract birds. They have a family of wild pheasants that has made the area their home. They have a lovely hill, a pond, and acres of gorgeous views surrounding many picnic spots for families to come and spend the day.
The Museum runs April 1 through October 15, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment. Loretta encourages large groups of 10 or more to call ahead. The suggested donation price of $5 is more than fair for the wealth of information and the tour back through time. If you take the tour and love what is being preserved at the Farm Museum, then consider getting a $20 annual family membership. For less than $2 a month, members are contributing to keep the memory of early 1900 agricultural life alive in our area.
The annual membership also has some special benefits. Members get a quarterly newsletter that highlights one of the areas’ early families and lists updates of happenings at the Farm Museum. Quarterly special events are hosted for members and their guests. The next public event is the annual Farm Museum Anniversary, and it will be held this Saturday. Interested parties can check out their website at http://www.northspokanefarmmuseum.com or call Loretta and Bob directly at 466-2744 or 570-4594. “Since all work done on the website is done by volunteers,” Loretta said, “the best way to get up-to-date information is to call us directly.” The Farm Museum is located at 6223 West Ridgeway Road in Deer Park.
Come One, Come All
For Some Old Fashioned Fun!
• Tractor Pulls
• Farm Equipment Demonstrations
Saturday, June 30th
Starts at 10:00 am