About Howell Farm
What is now called Howell Farm has been a working farm for 285 years. During its 45 years as a property of Mercer County, the farm has grown from a 126-acre tract of donated farmland to a 267-acre historical park where the agriculture and lifestyle of earlier times is presented annually to more than10,000 school children and 55,000 other visitors. As a living history farm, it continues to operate on a full, working scale by raising crops and livestock, and by using the house and barns as people did in earlier times. Dozens of horse powered field and transportation operations are used to farm the 50 tillable acres where corn, oats, wheat and hay are raised using equipment representative of the period.
Year-around programming enables families, schools, community groups, scouts, 4H clubs, volunteers and other visitors to join in the annual cycles of work, fun and learning that happens on the farm. Depending on the time of year (and day), visitors have opportunities to help plant and harvest crops, care for animals, build fences and raise barns, and cook (and taste!) meals prepared in kitchens equipped with ice boxes, pitcher pump sinks and wood burning stoves.
The Mercer County Park Commission's successful preservation and restoration of the farm qualified the property for listings on the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 1978, just four years after it was given to the County by the Howell Family of Pennington. Public appreciation of the 'farm park' that opened in 1984, and state and national recognition of its award-winning programs, inspired the 1991 formation of the Pleasant Valley National Rural Historic District. Key properties within the district were subsequently acquired by Mercer County and are maintained and operated by Howell Farm as The Pleasant Valley Historical Park. Visitors can enjoy the park through the tours of its one-room schoolhouse, late Revolutionary War period farmhouse, cemetery and the archaeological sites of a blacksmith shop, gristmill and two sawmills.