A celebration of the harvest season at Saline’s historic Rentschler Farm Museum featured food, song, wagon rides, theater, barn raising demonstrations, antique farm equipment, animals and more Sunday.
On an otherwise chilly and somewhat dreary day, Harvest on the Farm began under the warmth of the sun at noon, when city officials and members of the Saline Area Historical Society gathered to dedicate a new monument commemorating the Rentschler Farm Museum’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
Saline’s Department of Public Works moved a two-ton granite rock from the Max Adler Trail at Curtiss Park to its new home on the Rentschler Farm. DPW employees also affixed a plaque to the rock:
“Saline’s Rentschler Farm established in 1901 has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.”
The unveiling of the monument by Douglas Elfring, President of the Saline Area Historical Society, and Mayor Brian Marl, marked the attainment of the longtime community goal. The goal was resurrected four years ago when David Rhoads was president of the Saline Area Historical Society and reached when Dean Greb was president in June of 2013. After a group of Eastern Michigan University students tried and failed to get the farm listed on the register, the late Cynthia Christensen took on the challenge.
Both Marl and Elfring credited Christensen for her work.
“We would be remiss if we didn’t remember the one person who finally persevered and was able to get us this plaque: Cynthia Christensen. At times she was not feeling her best, taking treatment. But we’re so happy that she was able to live long enough to see the designation. We’re sorry she could not be here for this,” Elfring said.
Marl agreed, and noted that Christensen also chaired the city’s Historic District Commission.
“It’s unfortunate she’s not with us today. But she’s certainly with us in spirit,” he said.
Elfring said placement on the National Register of Historic Placement is a feat.
“They don’t pass thing out like Halloween candy,” he said.
Marl called it an honor for the entire community.
“There are so few communities that have a facility and grounds like this – that’s open to the public and that celebrates our history and heritage. Anything that signifies that importance and profound value is terrific,” Marl said.
The Rentschler Farm was established in 1901 by Emanuel Rentschler. In 1906, his brother Matthew Rentschler built the farmhouse that still stands today. Much of the farm was sold to Ford in the 1960s. The final four acres were sold by the family to the city in 1998.
The property is still owned by the city. The Saline Area Historical Society operates the museum.
The museum is open from May until Early December. Every spring, hundreds of Saline Area Schools students visit the museum to learn about local history and life on a Depression-era farm.
For more information visit www.salinehistory.org.