A day at the farm
Over 100 fourth grade students from Gosnell toured the historic Widner-Magers Farm near Dell on Friday, Nov. 18. The young students strolled through the 1930s as they learned about the work, company stores, sharecropping, schools, games, farms, and penny candy.
John Holt and Dru Duncan have restored the family farm opening the doors for workshops, tours, and guests.
The farm, located at 3398 North State Highway 181 north of Dell, has been in Dru's family for 80 years but they are the first family members to live on the property.
The couple has opened for painting barn quilts, archeology pit, open hearth cooking workshops, rag rug demonstrations, storytelling, sewing with the treadle and much more. They have hosted several civic clubs and been guest speakers at others.
The students visiting the farm on Friday had the opportunity to play games from the 1930s including red rover, hop scotch, checkers, and horse shoes. They learned about picking cotton and being a sharecropper.
Mr. John took the group on tours of the barns and shotgun houses and gave them a history lesson on the area showing them how work was done in the 1930s.
Dru had a cotton sack filled with cotton. She let the children pick it up so they could see exactly what one cent of cotton felt like in 1937. Cotton was five cents a pound. Each student was given a penny and a tour of the company store. They saw items and the costs from the 1930s. Each student was allowed to purchase a penny candy or a moon pie with their penny.
The students saw school books from the era, post office boxes from the old Dell Post Office, and a book, "Cotton in My Sack," on display by author Lois Lenski. Lenski visited the Magers Farm in Dell in 1947-1948 when she was doing research for the book. "Cotton in My Sack" was published in 1949. She dedicated it to her beloved Arkansas cotton children.
John and Dru are getting ready to winterize the buildings and close the farm to tours for the winter. They will be open (if the weather permits) on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving and ready to open again in the spring.
A Dell reunion is scheduled for June 2012 and part of the reunion will be held at the Widner-Magers Farm.
"We are looking forward to it," Dru said. "We enjoy having people visit our farm."
For more information, updates and schedules visit the website: widner-magers.org.