Seminole Valley Farm Museum came to be in November 1965 when the farmland and buildings
were sold to the city of Cedar Rapids. In 1967 Seminole Valley Farm Inc. was formed as a non-profit organization to refurbish
and operate the historic farm. The site is on the National Registry of Historic Places and consists of 10 buildings; the farmhouse,
summer kitchen, smoke house, outhouse, barn, machine shed, tool shed, hen house, visitor center, and museum building. The
buildings have been decorated and furnished in the pre 1910 time frame.
The history of Seminole Valley Farm goes all the way back to 1848 when the first claim to the land was made by a Pvt. Joseph
Tenney, a soldier of the Mexican War (1846-1848). He never saw the land as he signed away his land grant soon after the war.
Because so many people laid claim to the land, it is not known if any one person ever lived on it till the 1890s. Lafeyette
and Sarah Franks were the people known to build on the land. They lived in a dogtrot cabin that was built near today's
In 1899, Joseph Dostal bought the farm from
the Franks and moved a former hotel building from Cedar Rapids and it became the farmhouse that we have today. At that time,
the area was known as Linn Junction. They also cleared more land for crops. They retired, left the farm, and moved to Cedar
Rapids in 1906.
Ownership was transfered in 1909 to
Joseph Jasa and his wife Maria Dostal Jasa, Joseph Dostal's aunt. The family moved to the Farm between 1907 and 1909 bringing
6 children with them. In 1915 the barn burned to the ground. John Ford, a valley farmer and carpenter, built the present barn.
He was paid 2 dollars and 2 meals per day for his work. The farm also grew from 30 acres to over 200. Four bedrooms were also
added upstairs to the house. The Jasa family moved from the farm to Cedar Rapids in 1921 after the deaths of 2 of their sons
in the 1918 flu epidemic.
From 1921 to 1927 the farm
was rented out. Then in 1927 the farm's ownership was transfered to his daughter Francis and her husband Wesley J. Miller.
They also made many improvements to the farm. The present Museum building was built in 1954 and had all the concrete mixed
by hand. The summer kitchen was rotated 90 degrees so that it was easier to move cream from the barn to the seperator inside.
The Millers owned the farm until 1965 when it was sold to the city of Cedar Rapids and it became the newest city park, Seminole
Valley Park. While
the farm has survived many natural disasters over the years, the record flood of 2008 is the one that took its toll on the
buildings and contents. Two previous record floods never saw more than 2 inches of water on the ground floor of the farmhouse.
In 2008 there was 2 to 4 inches of water in the upstairs of the farmhouse. Most of the out buildings were under water. The
barn had water into its loft. There was over 12 foot of water around the farmhouse. All the contents of the museum were either
severely damaged or destroyed. The tool shed, the hen house, and the smoke house, along with their contents, were washed away
completely. An arson fire claimed the outhouse several months before the flood.
At this time Seminole Valley Inc. is in the process of rebuilding. While it will take many years and thousands of dollars,
we hope to preserve this site for future generations to enjoy.