To say that Maplelawn Farmstead is a labor of love is an understatement. The entirely-volunteer board of directors has put countless hours of sweat equity into the farm since 2005, when it originally launched as a pass-through fund at CFBC until they received their own 501(c)3 designation. The nonprofit organization creates experiences that connect people to the rich, rural history of the Great Depression era on an Indiana family farm.

Starting with the barns, which needed to be shifted on their foundations, the volunteers are carefully working to restore the farm piece-by-piece to the Depression era – landscaping, clearing out hay and stripping the house to its roots, including taking down wallpaper and ripping out the shag carpeting.

In 2010, The Community Foundation awarded a matching grant to Maplelawn to restore the kitchen, which provided the boost they needed to see the potential for the farm. Summer camps were held prior to the renovation, which allowed the kids a sense of ownership of the kitchen as they saw it progress. Now, campers utilize the kitchen a great deal, as they cook their own Depression-era lunch each day (we’re told SPAM day is their favorite!). They also love to pick cucumbers from the garden out back and make homemade pickles.

CFBC awarded another matching grant in 2013 to restore two parlor rooms. Maplelawn began their restoration in early 2014 with the help of generous community businesses and volunteers. When the restoration was completed Maplelawn hosted an open house in July that showcased the amazing restoration to over 250 donors, members, and community citizens. Tom Koppelman, a member of the Maplelawn board, reflecting on the impact the restoration has had on the organization says, “As a result of the completion we experienced a 30% increase in visitors over 2013, and have scheduled a multitude of new events and groups for 2015.”

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and host to several community events a year, the farm is an important piece of history right in our backyard. We hope you will take the time to visit and participate in one of the many community events Maplelawn offers!

To support the work of Maplelawn Farmstead, donate to their agency endowment! Visit the Community Foundation’s giving page, click “Donate Now to a specific endowment fund” and specify the Maplelawn Farmstead Endowment in your donation.

Check out a few before and after photos of the two parlor rooms and kitchen below.