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Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont California

Updated on March 10, 2015

Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, California - a 19th century working farm

A visit to Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, California is like stepping into a time machine where agricultural practices and the way of life have not changed since the 1850s. The 205-acre estate was originally owned by farmer George Washington Patterson in 1849 and turned over to the City of Fremont in 1978. It is currently being operated by the East Bay Regional Park District since 1985.

The crop fields grow grains and heirloom vegetables the same way Patterson did 100 years ago. Check out the amazing collection of vintage tractors.Taste cookies which are baked on a wood-burning stove and watch a blacksmith forge meteorite.Tour Patterson's fully-restored Victorian farmhouse mansion and gardens with docents dressed in period costumes. Take the kids to the farmyard to see chickens, sheep, pigs, turkeys, rabbits, goats and cows and do not forget to look at the exotic birds in the Aviary. The horse-drawn train to the Deer Park Station is a real treat. These are just a few of the 24 stops within the confines of Ardenwood Historic Farm.

All year round, Ardenwood Historic Farm hosts several activities like the Scottish Festival, Harvest Festival, Rail Fair with genuine 19th century locomotives, Easter events, Monarch Butterfly Walks (during migration), and a Victorian Christmas celebration.

All photos were taken by Bakerwoman (that's me).

George Washington Patterson Victorian Farmhouse - Used to be a bachelor pad

In 1849, George Washington Patterson came from the midwest to California and found his fortune in the fields of southern Fremont in Northern California. He worked as farm hand and later bought the land and built the Patterson estate on the 205-acre ranch which he named Ardenwood after the Forest of Arden in Shakespeare's play "As You Like It." Ardenwood was turned over to the CIty of Fremont in 1978 and has been maintained by The East Bay Regional District since 1985. The Farm house has been meticulously restored and expanded to a Queen Anne Victorian farm house with tours led by docents dressed in 19th century period clothing.

Tour the Patterson House at Ardenwood Historic Farm

Discover exciting and fun things to do in Fremont

Fremont, California: Including its History, Fremont Central Park, Ardenwood Historic Farm, Little Taipei Shopping Center, and More
Fremont, California: Including its History, Fremont Central Park, Ardenwood Historic Farm, Little Taipei Shopping Center, and More

Fremont is rich in history like no other. After reading this book, you will want to travel to Northern California and visit the place.


Ardenwood Historic Farm is a full-functioning farm as it was 100 years ago - But it is more than just a farm

Wheat, barley, corn, organic and heirloom vegetables are some of the crops grown in the former Patterson ranch today. Freshly-picked vegetables are sold just inside the main gate. The horse-drawn train at the Deer Park will take you around the farm for a tour of the historic farm.

During the Harvest Festival in the Fall, children and adults can have fun in the corn maze. Flashlights are supplied for the Halloween haunts in the maze where ghouls would jump out and scare the daylights out of the unsuspecting explorers.

Ardenwood Historic Farm - turn-of-the-century working farm - A fun and educational adventure for kids and adults

Watch sheep shearing demo, bottle-fed baby lambs, blacksmith forging his craft. Take a field trip through the produce gardens and the farms and water was used to irrigate the crops. Watch how farm animals were fed, grains were ground with vintage hand-cranked machines were used a century ago.

Turn-of-the-century tractor collection - Fully-functional workhorses

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Harvesting wheat in Ardenwood Historic Farm's 1930 Holt Combine

1890s working steam locomotive - Getting all steamed up about steam locomotives

The Cortez Mining Co. 0-4-0T #1 'Anne Marie' was built by H.K.Porter as a 30" gauge locomotive in 1890. It was a small enough locomotive that pulled coal and ore for mine companies and was a big seller. Anne Marie was restored in 2005-2006 and converted by her owner to a 36" Narrow Gauge.

We came to Ardenwood for the RailFair 2011 and was fortunate enough to ride the 'Anne Marie' around the historic farm. The fun ride took us between Ardenwood Farm and Deer Park Station.

Ardenwood RailFair 2011 - Vintage mining steam locomotives take the stage

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Antelope & Western 0-4-0 #1 is an 1889 Porter which took center stage at the Ardenwood Railfair 2011.
Antelope & Western 0-4-0 #1 is an 1889 Porter which took center stage at the Ardenwood Railfair 2011.
Antelope & Western 0-4-0 #1 is an 1889 Porter which took center stage at the Ardenwood Railfair 2011.

Ardenwood Rail Fair 2012 - Take a vicarious experience through these cool videos

If you missed the RailFair in Ardenwood Historic Farm - fret not - Read about the amazing vintage trains in this book

Riding the Rails: Ardenwood Farm Historic Rail Fair 2011
Riding the Rails: Ardenwood Farm Historic Rail Fair 2011

This is a wonderful collection of the Ardenwood Historic Farm's working trains which were running during the Rail Fair of 2011. My family and I were fortunate enough to witness and ride the turn-of-the-century trains that year.


Experience a Victorian Christmas at Ardenwood Historic Farm - T'is the season to be jolly indeed

Christmas events include the traditional children's game called the yule log hunt, music, dances and puppet shows, craft activities and holiday cooking demonstrations, all of which are recreations of what were popular in the late 1800s-1900s.

Monarch butterflies overwintering in Ardenwood Farm - The Bay Area's largest monarch butterfly congregation in the winter

Hordes of monarch butterfies with their striking stained-glass orange and black wings migrate to the Ardenwood Historic Farm's grove of eucalyptus where they take shelter in December to mid-February. The profusion of milkweed, the staple of the monarchs, may be responsible for this mass migration from as far as British Columbia. Milkweed is the only plant on which monarch butterflies will lay eggs.

Participate in the Monarch Butterfly Nature walks and witness fluttering clumps of monarch butterflies overwintering in the Ardenwood forest.

Check out the Ardenwood Naturalist Programs for 2013

Monarch Butterflies are back in Fremont Eucalyptus Grove

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    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      What a neat place. I'd love to visit it someday. Very well done.