Collections at museums often represent snapshots from different places and different people. To find a collection of historical artifacts from one family is rare. To find them at the farm where the family lived for more than 100 years is even rarer.
This is what makes Timberlane Farm Museum in Loveland, Colorado so special.
The farm has been in the same family since 1860, when Judge W.B. Osborn and his wife Margaret acquired a 160 acre homestead in the Thompson Valley. Over the years the farm grew, but today just 17 acres remain, but also remaining are thousands of stories and hundreds of genuine artifacts from one of the first families of Loveland.
A visit to Timberlane Farm Museum brings Loveland history and Larimer County history alive – literally. I was greeted by the moo of cows as I exited my car at the farm on a snowy April day.
Located at 1st Avenue and Denver Avenue, hundreds of Lovelanders drive by Timberlane Farm every day, but few know much about the place. The museum was established six years ago as a nonprofit by Louise Osborn Gardels, the great granddaughter of Judge W.B. Osborn. Now 90-years-old, Gardels lives in Loveland and plays a vital role at the museum.
This living history museum truly breathes life into Loveland’s history from the mid-1800s to the 1940s. I’m not going to give everything about the farm away in this post because you should go on a tour and get the real story. I will, however, share with you a few of my favorite things from my tour.
The 1930s Barn – Still in use, the barn is home to the farm’s two Belgian horses. I really love old barns and this one is pretty spectacular.
The Yellow Frame House – There are two houses on the property. The two-story brick home built in 1880 by one of Judge Osborn’s sons is the most visible house on the property and it’s very grand. But I fell in love with the yellow house. Smaller and less prominent it was built by Gardels’ father, Milo Kenneth Osborn in 1915.
Cozy, with furniture from the 1930s, much of it built by Milo Kenneth Osborn, I could easily live in this charming home.
Stories – I enjoy museums and I’ve visited quite a few over the years, but what I really love bout visiting museums are the stories, and Timberlane Farm Museum has them in spades. The guided tour is filled with stories about this amazing family. Like the story of Margaret Osborn hiding her stove in a haystack for fear it would be stolen or the story of how Louise Osborn Gardels was recruited from Colorado State University to become an aeronautical engineer in the 1940s, a time when few women attended college, let alone became aeronautical engineers.
The Timberlane Farm Museum gets very active during the summer months, hosting re-enactor weekends and lots more. The farm welcomes picnickers on the large property.
All tours are guided and they are great for all ages. Children are welcome to feed the horses, cuddle the piglets and say hi to the cows and chickens.
The museum is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. The farm is also available for events. While there purchase farm fresh eggs for just $3 a carton. Visit this farm museum online at TimberlaneFarmMuseum.org.