History of Schumacher Farm Park
In 1978 Marcella Schumacher Pendall (1910-1993) donated her family’s 40-acre farmstead to Dane County Parks as a conservancy and strolling park. A small prairie remnant would serve as the foundation of the park and existing prairie restoration. In 1979, Dane County Parks restored 5 acres of prairie. Marcella soon envisioned a living history farm museum that would depict rural lifeways of her youth. To achieve her dream, she formed the Friends of Schumacher Farm in 1986, and mentored the support group while continuing to live in the family home until the age of 83. At her death in 1993, she left the Marcella Schumacher Pendall Trust Fund that provides for the basic financial needs of the Friends group.
This unique 3-way partnership between Dane County Parks, The Trust and the Friends of Schumacher Farm, supports the farm. Each has a specific role. Dane County owns the property and provides maintenance and support services, the Friends of Schumacher Farm hire staff, and manage operations and programs and the Trust provides funding. This triad has since become a model arrangement for other units within the Dane County Parks system.
Since 1999, the Friends have relocated donated farm outbuildings to the Farm to replace those torn down over the years. This includes the granary, chicken coop, Hog House and Corn Crib. Original buildings include the house and white barn.
In 2011, Schumacher Farm tripled in size when the Dane County purchased an adjacent 78-acre parcel. The parcel is currently being cropped and will be developed in the future for recreational purposes.
In 2003, a period dairy barn was donated by neighboring farmers and was moved to the new parcel adjacent to the original farmstead, to serve as the park headquarters and year-round visitor center. Just prior to being lowered onto its new foundation, however, a strong windstorm blew the barn off its cribbing and destroyed it. An insurance settlement paid for replacing the barn with a sturdy, traditional timber-framed structure.
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