In 1881, one Diedrich Wessels left Germany and came to America in order to seek a better life. Not an uncommon story for many immigrants from Europe at that most propitious moment, but his legacy certainly lives on in an interesting fashion. Upon his death, it was revealed that Wessels left a condition in his will that “a certain amount of land and capital should be set aside to establish the Wessels Living History Farm.” His will was done, and today, this farm still stands in York, Nebraska as a testament to his life and to the importance of family farms. There are a couple of great features right off the bat on the site’s homepage, which contains a reading by Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and a film that documents a modern corn harvest. This is just the beginning, however, as the site also contains sections that also offer insights into the lives of farmers in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1930s. Each of these areas contains brief topical essays on elements of farming such as plowing and fertilizing, coupled with interviews with farmers about some of the technological changes that were underway in each decade. For those who would like a first-hand view of the farm, this is also covered on the site by a series of live web cams that look onto various parts of the grounds.


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  • Science > Agriculture
  • Social Studies > General
  • Social Studies > Economics
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