Explore Map » Stories

This is my grandparent’s farm. The house and all of the buildings were built by my grandfather and great-grandfather back in the 1920s. My grandparents lived there all of their married life and raised 8 children. We lived less than a mile away and it was always such fun to spend time there and help out with cutting the grass or watching them bale hay or do the chores. All of the buildings except for the house are now gone but the memories live on. They never took many pictures back then so to get an actual photo of the way it used to look is just so wonderful!


This was my childhood home and there has never been a place more magical to me. Goats, pigs, cows, chickens, rabbits, kittens – room and love for one and all. There was a creek to catch minnows and tadpoles from, an orchard to ride our pony in. I would spend hours sitting high in the apple tree eating apples or lying on the grass looking up at the clouds and daydreaming. There was a huge mulberry tree next to the windmill where my brother could be found on any summer day, his face stained purple from all the berries he’d consume. We’d camp out under the stars during the summer with Shep (our dog) and Alfred (best cat ever) keeping watch while we slept. The long driveway made a great tricycle course when we were young with more than one spill from the trike, but so worth it; and a driving course when we were teenagers dreaming of getting our driver’s license someday.

We moved away when I was 16 years old but a piece of my heart has never left. We visited the farm a couple of weeks ago – it had been exactly 50 years since my older brother and I made our first trip up that driveway to get on the school bus for the first time - our mother holding onto my 2 younger brothers, fighting back tears and waving us on. Most of the original buildings, the trees and orchard are now gone. Aluminum siding covers the beautiful red bricks on the 200 year old house. My daughters that were with me that day saw a different farm that no longer held the sweetness and simplicity it had in the sixties. In my mind I could still see it but I wished so much that they could too. When I got home, I did an online search to see if perhaps there was an old aerial photo taken that would have captured it. What I found was the Vintage Aerial website and was absolutely thrilled when they were able to locate a photo of our wonderful home during those “Norman Rockwell” days. When I first saw that photo, I felt like I was peeking back into history at something that I thought I’d never be able to see again. An absolute treasure that I will always cherish.


This was known as the Marshall Heaps farm. Branson & Ruth Spencer bought this 200 acre farm in 1956 where 2 of their 5 children, Dorothy and Charles finished high school. Charles went on to finish out his working career with this company (Vintage Aerial) where he remains today, 2010.


After purchasing a current photo of our farm, I discovered they also have photos from the 1960's to the present. My husband's parents had never purchased any photos so we didn't have photos that showed the original buildings on the farm. I ended up purchasing three photos (8x12) and plan on having them in a single frame to give to my husband for his birthday. The whole idea was not inexpensive but I think of it more as a family keepsake to be passed down to another generation. The whole process of once emailing them and receiving my photos took less than I believe three weeks.

—Rose Pelke

This was my Aunt and Uncle's farm in Indianola, Iowa. My Uncle's father built the big farmstead around 1900. He was known in the area as the "Flyin' Farmer" because he raced midget race cars during the 1920's-1930's and was featured in many Iowa State Fair race programs. His name was Dwight Peck.

—Casey Cockayne

I inherited this farm from my mother and stepfather. Its not every day a young man can have two great fathers and one great mother in a lifetime but i did. This photograph will hang in this home and will be passed on to my two girls when I am gone.

—Shawn S.

This is the Stitz Century Farm as it was in its prime in the 1980’s. Occupied and managed by Mike and Donna Stitz, it was one of the select area producers of corn, soy beans, and feeder pigs. The many chores were divided among the eleven children who truly enjoyed growing up on the farm. Hard work, hard play, and a beer to end the day.

—Bob Stitz

We always wanted a picture of the farm like it was when we purchase it, and now we will have one. We bought the farm from the Melvin & Lydia Schmidt in 1967. And the Vintage Aerial company was great too work with, and Gary Brinkmeier was great person to work with.

—Roger & Linda Sauerbrey

My family moved to the farm when I was seven, in 1955. The old farm house was a shack, with electricity the only utility. Mom cooked on a kerosene stove, and I still remember the delicious smell of potatoes and onions frying, mingled with the smell of burning kerosene. We spent one winter in the drafty house with a wood stove for heat, and the following summer Dad, with what help the rest of us (an older brother and two older sisters) could give him, built the house pictured. It is much smaller now than when I was a child. Dad built the barn on the left with lumber salvaged from a building from our place at Maize, Ks when we moved, (the distant structure on the left did not exist). The existing barn was in as bad a shape as the house had been, and when I was around 12, we removed everything above the first level and built back on that a larger barn that was not so tall. That is the other barn in the photo. Dad planted the row of cedar trees along the road to the left and right to serve as a windbreak, but Mom wouldn’t let him plant them in front of the house. When I was 16, the old chicken house had gotten in such bad shape that I tore it down and used the lumber to build a smaller new chicken house.

We hand-dug the trench to pipe water from an old hand dug well about 500 ft down the hill where our garden area was, and similarly plumbed gas in from across the road. Having running water was wonderful, but we continued using the outhouse to save the electricity it would take to pump the water to the house. Gas was expensive and we used it only for cooking and a little bit for heat when it was extremely cold. We still heated with wood, but only the living area of the house, the bedrooms were unheated. We moved to a smaller farm when I was 18, but this place, where I grew up roaming the hills and valleys and swimming in the pond, is home.

—Paul Matzek

My husband and I bought this farm in 2006 from Fritz Larson. At the time of this photo, Fritz owned this farm and milked cows here. His parents owned it prior, but were killed June 4, 1958 along with his baby brother when an F5 tornado ripped through these hills. That tornado is now known as "The Black Terror" as it killed over 20 people that day. Fritz took over the farm after his parents died with the help of a couple uncles. Fritz rebuilt all the outbuildings as the house was the only thing standing after the tornado went through.

It's amazing to see this because it's so similar to what we own today. The little cement silo was taken down for a large Harvestore. Also, the pine trees along the left side of the house must have fallen at one point because we have much smaller trees there not. There is no door on the front of the house, and the garage shown was torn down to put up an attaged garage on the back of the house. The small grain bin is no longer there as well. Now we have a chicken coop in which we built standing there. In that circle part of the yard, there are two tall pine trees with a little flower bed around them. There are also some trees along the road right in front of the house. The sheds look about the same, and the barn is pretty close to the same as well!

It is so awesome to see this. I hope our neighbors check for some of their farms as this is a great way to perserve family history!

—Amy Shaver