Lakewood’s history is steeped in agriculture and farming, a fact often forgotten since the city has become one of Denver’s largest suburbs.
“From the Land: Agriculture in Lakewood,” the new exhibit at the Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St., aims to remind older generations and inform new generations about Lakewood’s rural history.
“We hadn’t covered farming here in a long time,” said Heritage Center administrator, Andrea Miller. “Lakewood was primarily an agricultural area before it grew into the city it is now. We have a history with beekeeping, apple orchards and general agriculture.”
The exhibit features two tractors that were used for farming, as well as a plethora of authentic tools and vintage books and photographs of families who lived in the area at the time.
“We wanted to honor different families there were here and focused on these different areas of farming,” Miller said.
Some of these families include the Peterson, Addenbrooke-Everitt, Schnell, Carmody, Hayden, Devinny, O’Kane, Beers and William Thomas Gorrell families, names that many residents will recognize from buildings and landmarks in the city.
The museum’s curator Katy Lewis described the building of the exhibit as a great collaborative effort, with staff members of all kinds of departments coming together to work on the project.
One of the most informative things created is a map of modern Lakewood, with the locations of many of the key farms highlighted in bright colors. It gives visitors a chance not only to see how large some of the farms were, but where they are in relation to contemporary Lakewood.
An area for children, with a small wooden tractor, as well as a felt garden with vegetables to plant, has also been created, to teach the youth a little about what farming used to be like.
“Farming is a common background for many people, so the exhibit has something to offer for so many people,” Miller said. “We’re also tying it into modern urban and backyard farming.”
Miller said the city partnered with Agriburbia — an organization redevelopment of land for urban gardening — as a way to bring farming to life for people interested in it.
“There are so many different aspects to the exhibits, that there’s really something for everyone,” Lewis said. “You can bring your dad and your little kids as well.”
For more information, call 303-987-7850 or visit www.lakewood.org/heritagecenter.