The Northville Farm Heritage Centre was founded in 2000 by a group of people interested in preserving the tools, implements and farming methods of the past. Its fifteen acre site is situated at the foot of the North Mountain, which defines the northern edge of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. The Bay of Fundy, behind the Mountain, is only four miles away as the crow flies.
The family farm was once a way of life in the Valley. Farms would have orchard, beef or dairy cattle, a pig or two, some sheep and poultry. Potatoes were once a major export commodity, and everyone grew a vegetable garden for their own use. Apples became a major commodity roughly between 1880 and 1945, and were the main impetus behind all the railway lines going to rural communities. Since World War ll most farmers have specialized in just one or two kinds of livestock or crops, so that the small mixed farm has become a threatened species.
(Yes, even farmers had cars way back then. Susan Chase of Port Williams, the first and only woman to become president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association- in 1928 – drove a Model T Ford to the first annual three-day fruit growers’s tour in 1925. Hers was almost certainly black. A few more colourful models can be seen at several of our events.)
Northville Farm Heritage Centre is located in the midst of the best agricultural land in Nova Scotia. A dedicated group of volunteers with farming blood in their veins have been erecting buildings one at a time, beginning with Heritage Hall. Our functioning windmill used to supply water to Hayes Mill at Coldbrook. The sawmill and shingle mill are often demonstrated at our special events. The Bentley Barn, Carriage House and Sawler Building are filled with antiques. The Cookhouse supplies drinks and hot foods whenever a crowd gathers here. At the north end of the property, both the Blacksmith Shop and the Cooper Shop show off two of the trades once practiced widely to serve agriculture.
If you’d like to see the place, just attend one of our special events, or ask for a private tour. One of our volunteers will be happy to show you around. Volunteers and new members are welcome.
Board of Directors meetings are held the first Thursday of each month in the Heritage Hall at 7:30 p.m. Members and guests are welcome to attend.
The photo below shows the founding meeting of the Northville Farm Heritage Centre, held in the parking lot because there were, as yet, no buildings.