July 12, 2005 > Ardenwood: 20 years of living history
Ardenwood: 20 years of living history
by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson
In 1849, George Washington Patterson journeyed west to find his fortune in the gold mines of California; but he did not become the wealthy forty-niner he had hoped to be. Instead, he transformed himself in to a successful farmer whose legacy lives on over a century and a half later in the form of Ardenwood Historic Farm.
Twenty years ago the Patterson acreage, just off of Highway 84, was designated as a public park to educate the public about Fremont's history. Since 1985, Ardenwood has offered educational opportunities and the preservation of local history to the Tri-City area. Numerous historical events, such as the Celtic Festival and Civil War Days, take place on the vast grounds.
The farm surrounds a 19th century country estate featuring a stunning mansion, home to George Patterson, wife Clara, and their sons Henry and William, and its elaborate Victorian Gardens. The restored Patterson House was considered to be "the most handsome house in the township in 1898" according to the Washington Press. The historic farm exhibits agricultural, domestic and other practices from the 1870s to the present, demonstrating the transition from "horse-powered to horsepower."
Ardenwood's 205 acres are the perfect escape for a quiet lunch or a day out with the family. During the week, the farm provides an ideal place for writing, reading and quiet contemplation amid its expansive, green grounds. Weekends are bustling with families coming out to enjoy the many activities and demonstrations taking place at this hidden historic treasure.
Through Ardenwood's educational programs, visitors can witness and participate in blacksmithing, chore demonstrations, tending and harvesting the farm's organic crops, and other activities common to a turn-of-the-century farm. Weekdays, naturalists provide programs for school classes and other groups by reservation. Call (510) 796-0663 for information on this free event.
Ardenwood's 20th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, July 17
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont