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Kelley, Oliver H., Homestead

Elk River, Minnesota
County of Sherburne.
U.S. Route 10, 2 miles southeast of Elk River
National Register Number: 66000406
Resource type: District.
Property type: Domestic - single dwelling. The threat level was Satisfactory in
Congressional District: MN-6 Certified Local Government: NO
This NHL offers public access.
Please contact the NHL directly for visitor information.
Current use/information: House and Farm Museum.
Web Site: www.mnhs.org/sites/ohkf.html.

Statement of Significance (as of designation - July 19, 1964):
From 1850 to 1870, this was the home of Oliver Hudson Kelley (1826-1913), founder of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, the National Grange (1867). Kelley, an avowed "book farmer" who advocated experimentation, advanced methods, and increased communications among farmers, founded his organization after seeing firsthand the wretched conditions in the post-Civil War South. The house served as Grange headquarters from 1868 to 1870.

There are no threats to the landmark at this time.

Operation and maintenance at the Kelley Farm has been highly successful. Thanks largely to the efforts of the newly-formed “Friends of Kelley Farm”, this NHL and state park has managed to remain open despite state budget cuts. The non-profit group has successfully raised funding over the past few years and worked with the state legislature to secure funding both for the Kelley Farm, and for other state parks. The Friends of the Kelley Farm have emphasized the importance of operating inclusively in their discussions, and felt strongly that funding for the Kelley Farm should not benefit from increased funding to the detriment of other state-owned sites. The farm has recently undergone an American Association of Museums accreditation study and will soon be accredited with AAM. Discussions are now (2006) beginning on new planning for the site, with a preliminary stakeholders meeting scheduled in the near future. This will be followed by a development plan that should be ready for review by the state legislature in 2008. A new wheelchair lift has been installed on the exterior of the house, which has not impacted the house interior, and which is not attached to the house exterior. This lift facilitates the site’s interpretive programs which include special education needs, both cognitive and physical. Work in winter 2007 will include new roofs for the house and barn, a new house porch, and painting to occur in spring 2007.

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