The Pomeroy Farm in Yacolt dates back to 1910.“We don’t have many Pomeroys left because we’ve had a lot of girls,” says Maura Todd, of Pomeroy Farm. “We’re looking at our sixth generation, just not with the Pomeroy name.”
The farm has suffered two major fires and the vicissitudes of transferring ownership and changing times. But the log home built in 1920 still stands, and the historic 1930s-era barn and blacksmith shop is still intact. During certain times, the farm is open to the public to offer a living history educational program, holiday teas, an autumn hay ride and a stirring backdrop for weddings.
A new generation is managing and running the farm.
Pomeroy Farm History
Originally E.C. Pomeroy bought the farm. A fire swept through before he could even send for his family, but the family decided to commit to the farm anyway, and arrived in 1910. They ran a cattle operation and the trees that grew back became a cash crop for the next generation. They still harvest those trees, replanting for each future generation.
A family photo of Pomeroy surrounded by his children and grandchildren shows him seated as the master of them all, a testament to the patriarchal society of the day. But though Pomeroy had five children, in the end it came down to the youngest surviving Pomeroy daughter, Angelina, who inherited the farm. Angelina married Charlie Plowman, and together they amassed 480 acres from the Pomeroy side and 160 acres from the Plowman side.
Angelina would eventually pass it all down to her two daughters, Lillie and Helen.
“Lillie was kind of the leader, literally and figuratively, for many years,” says Bob Brink, the executive director of Pomeroy Farm, who is married to Lillie’s daughter, Jane. Lillie, an Anglophile, started a British import gift shop and tea room. Although discontinued several years ago, they were the start of a living history program that is the spirit of the farm and they still bring in seasonal teas, bringing back the feel of a more elegant time.
Lillie and Helen had five children between them, including one boy, but ultimately the farm was left to the four girls – Jane, Martha, Charlene and Angilee – to make the decisions.
Jane’s daughter, Betsy, can be found in the office and cooking for the teas. Jane’s son, Dan, can be found organizing the weddings and doing day-to-day chores. Martha’s daughter, Maura, is the go-to for marketing and public relations.
“It’s a family owned corporation,” says Bob. “It’s all really a group effort,” adds Maura.
Living History a Focus at Pomeroy Farm
Bob says that when he and Jane returned to the farm in 1982 he began to “resurrect it” a little bit. He points out that, “there was a period of time the farm wasn’t being actively run.”
Bob has spent 12 years in education, and Jane was a teacher, too. Several other family members are educators too. “In 1988 we started the living history school program and it grew from there.” The living history is where the family’s hearts are, viewing it as community outreach. “We were willing to not make anything on it but make it a community asset.” Still, Bob says, “Our main goal is to get the living history part to be self-sufficient.”
That is appropriate because what they teach in the living history program is self-sufficiency. Interpreters wear period costumes and walk students through the blacksmith shop, log home and common activities of the 1920s such as making butter and grinding coffee.
They started hosting weddings in 2010. “It started because my cousin Betsy got married out there,” says Maura. People had been asking them if they would host weddings and Betsy’s wedding opened their minds. “There wasn’t any good reason not to,” says Maura. The farm provides tables and chairs and opens the venue to the guests. There is only one wedding at a time, so guests can use the property as they wish. “It’s your day,” promises Maura.
Are there any farmers in the sixth generation? It is too early to tell, with the oldest being only two years old. But there is promise; Maura says Everett, her cousin, Betsy’s, son, “loves riding the tractor with farmer Bob and picking the pumpkins.”
Pomeroy Farm will be open each weekend in October for Pumpkin Lane with a hay ride that passes scenes with about 100 “pumpkin people.” The other big event open to the public is the Country Life Fair in the spring. In between those there are Thanksgiving teas and a Christmas tea, plus wreath making by Maura, in addition to the school programs for kids from preschool to sixth grade.
“We look at ourselves as grandma and grandpa’s farm that kids today don’t have access to,” says Bob.
To learn more about visiting Pomeroy Farm in Yacolt, click here.