Old Farm Day began with an idea of the Fluvanna Historical Society’s Museum Committee to showcase antique farm equipment and traditional farming techniques through displays and demonstrations. John May, then a member of the Museum Committee, was one of the event founders. A key participant on the OFD committee, John has been an avid collector of antique farm implements for over 40 years and has a vast knowledge of Fluvanna’s farming history. Some of his collection will be on display at Pleasant Grove inside the new Farm Heritage Museum.
Over the years, Old Farm Day has grew to become Fluvanna County’s premier community event. Fluvannians, who marveled at the antique implements as children, brought their own families to enjoy and learn from the experience.
Old Farm Day was held at Pleasant Grove, a nearly 1000-acre tract of land purchased by Fluvanna County in 1994. The park land is a part of over 3600 acres originally owned and settled by the John Haden family during the 1760’s. The earliest family houses on the property were close to the Rivanna River, the primary means of transportation in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
Over the years, succeeding generations of Hadens lived and worked on the land at Pleasant Grove. The house that stands now was built in 1854 by William D. Haden, great-grandson of the first John Haden.
In June of 2004, the house and five surrounding acres were entered in the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its architectural significance. One of Fluvanna County's treasures, the Pleasant Grove House, has now been restored and expanded in a mutual effort by Fluvanna County, the Fluvanna Historical Society and the Fluvanna Heritage Trail Foundation. It now serves as a museum and visitor center and provides office space for key staff of the Parks Department.
The Farm Heritage Museum
The first exhibit at the Farm Heritage Museum was on May 4, 2019 at Old Farm Day. The official ground breaking ceremony for the Farm Heritage Museum took place in early 2018. The museum building was mostly complete in time for Old Farm Day 2018, and since then Historical Society volunteers were busy cleaning and repairing pieces to show as the Museum opened to the public with its first exhibit at Old Farm Day, May 4, 2019. The equipment and displays demonstrate the legacy of Fluvanna’s agricultural history, highlighting collections of antique farm equipment and more.
John May in front of barn under construction
Construction and equipment progress slide show