Anderson Island Farm, Museum, and Gift Shop
The Farm (1896 - 1975)
The Johnson Farm was established in 1896, when Finnish immigrants John and Alma Marie first built a 2-room cabin.
This farm is typical of those developed by many Islanders who raised chickens and dairy herds as a source of income.
The Johnsons had four children, and their two sons continued to operate the farm until 1975.
The current buildings date from 1912-1920.
The Museum Gift Shop
The Gift Shop is located on the farm - in Chicken Coop #1 - at 9306 Otso Point Road (884-2135).
Open Saturday (10 AM – 4 PM) and
Sunday (12-4 PM) April through December.
The Gift Shop carries mugs, jams, candy, and teas,
books (new and gently used),
children’s toys and games,
stationery items, photographs, pottery, glassware, antiques, jewelry and other accessories, kitchen items, and has a Christmas Corner
Take a walk around the farm, and be sure to visit the Gift Shop located in Chicken Coop #1. A docent from the Anderson Island Historical Society will gladly give you a tour of the Johnson family home and answer any farm-related questions you might have.
At the top of the tower is a wooden tank. The tank was filled by an old Ram Pump located in the pond, down below to the south. The Ram Pump is on display in the barn.
The Milk Room
The lower part of the tower served as the Milk Room. The separator was used to separate the cream from the milk. The milk was then bottled and placed in the concrete vault to keep it cool until it was sold. The concrete vault had water running through it to provide cooling.
“A wood shed is a wood shed is a wood shed,” presumably with all the mysteries and lore that go with wood sheds. This one still contains wood.
In the early days, drums and cans of fuel and oil were stored here. It is now used for general storage.
The tool shed provided an area to store tools and parts, and to make the repairs that were not completed in the field or in the barn.
This is really the heart of the farm, as the primary product was eggs. At the height of the operation, the two large chicken coops at the north end of the property had from 2,000 to 3,000 chickens each. In the early days, the eggs were gathered and brought to the Egg Room to be candled, cleaned, sorted, and packaged by hand. In 1964 the Johnson brothers bought a used egg washing machine. Although it broke a lot of eggs, it did wash, separate by weight, and saved a lot of labor.
Modern Maintenance. This is where the Historical Society keeps supplies for the current maintenance program.
Small Chicken Coop. Here we attempt to show the life cycle of the chicken from the incubator through the laying cycle.
First, on the left is the incubator. The fertile eggs were placed on the racks inside. They were heated by the heating system attached to the side. When they hatched, they were placed on the floor under the brooder.
The Brooder was heated by the heater in the center. The chicks were fed and watered until they became chickens. They were then placed in the large chicken coops where they were fed and watered. At night they would roost on the wire roosts, up off of the floor.
When they were ready to lay eggs, they would climb up the ramps and jump into the nests that lined the end walls of the chicken coops. The eggs were then gathered and taken to the Egg Room.
This barn is unique, since it is a pole barn. The framing is of peeled poles rather than dimensional lumber. It was built in 1917. The stalls housed 12 to 15 cows kept for milking and breeding purposes. The main part of the barn was used for hay. The equipment was either in the field or in other buildings on the farm. There was once a resident Barn Owl who provided the farm with extra income. His regurgitated pellets were sold to the schools for lab work.
The barn and associated agricultural buildings are on the State Heritage Barn Register.
The Logging Wagon is from Lizzie Larson’s farm, just west of here.
The Hay Baler
This baler also was used on Lizzie Larson’s farm. It is a good display of the technique used during the period. The baler was commercially built, but in this case it was mounted on the frame and wheels of an old hard tired truck. The baler was stationary and hay was brought to the baler, which was powered by a belt from a tractor. The top ram would push the hay down, as the locomotive type ram compacted the hay into bales. Bailing wire would then be put into place. As a new bale was formed, the old one was pushed out.
The Pilot House
This is off of the 65-foot Tahoma ferry which served the Island between 1939 and 1967. It traveled at
12 mph and could carry nine cars.
The Fordson tractor is a 1929 model. The Johnny Popper tractor was originally part of the farm equipment, then sold, and then was given back to us a few years ago. It is called Johnny Popper because of its distinctive exhaust note. During the course of two revolutions (a four-stroke cycle) of the engine (720 degrees) the first cylinder fires at 0 degrees, the second at 180 degrees, then the engine coasts 540 degrees until it fires again beginning the next cycle.
The Model T is a 1923 model, donated by the Rick Anderson family. The Historical Society has used it in the Island Fair Parade and it is displayed at farm functions. One of our members took it upon himself to paint it red and yellow—you can imagine the uproar!—one day you will see that changed back to black.
Chicken Coop #2
The layout of the two large chicken coops is similar. This one is 100 feet long, with three, 30-foot rooms for the chickens, and the first ten feet is the feed room. The other coop is 70 feet long.
Notice the handwritten weather reports on the wall and ceiling to the right as you enter the feed room.
These buildings were the latest thing in the early 1920’s. They were purchased as kits in 30-foot increments, plus the feed room.
The chickens spent the day on the floor where they were fed and watered. They would roost at night on the wire roosts above the roosting tables and would lay their eggs in the nests that lined the end walls. The eggs were gathered and taken to the Egg Room.
Recent gifts added to our collection include a cast iron apple press, logging wagon, horse-drawn seeder, a 1923 Model T truck, drag saw with multiple blades, the island’s first post office (a gift from Jean Cammon Findlay, great-granddaughter of Bengt Johnson, our first postmaster) and the historical Thick ‘n Thin Sawmill (a gift from Bob Wagnild). Many homes on the Island are made from lumber milled on this sawmill.