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Website of the Week — Living History Farm

Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.

This week, a click of a mouse takes us to Wessels Living History Farm in York, Nebraska. This was a real family farm for most of the 20th century, and now it lives on as a working farm museum, and online at, where you can read and hear about the history of American farming from people who were there.

GANZEL: "We have approximately 400 stories on the website right now. Each of those goes into great detail about an aspect of agriculture and agricultural history. And as I said, you know, the oral history interviews bring, I think, that history to life because history really matters when you know how big events affected everyday life. So that's why the oral history interviews are so important."

Bill Ganzel is the writer and producer of the website, and thanks to his background in television, the high quality of the brief video interviews really stands out. Stanley Jensen talks about the threat posed by grasshoppers. Helen Bolton describes the challenge of learning to switch from horse to tractor. There's even poetry from former poet laureate Ted Kooser, who evokes a hard but romantic era in agriculture.

KOOSER: "... hot work, cold work, lunch buckets,
good horses, bad horses, their names
and the names of mules that were
better or worse than the horses,
then rattled the dented tin sides
of the threshing machine, shook
the manure spreader..."

If you can't visit Wessels Living History Farm in person, the website lets you see what's happening out on the farm's 60 hectares.

GANZEL: "If you go onto the webcam that's on the website, you can, you know, see how those are going. And in fact one of the things that we've just put together is a timelapse movie about how the corn that was planted south of the barn, how quickly it grew. And it's pretty amazing that, you know, after germination within a couple of months it had grown to its full height."

Our Website of the Week, Wessels Living History Farm, online at or get the link from our site,