Saturday, December 26, 2009
The Jabs Farm is one of the coolest -and most abandoned- places we came across in 2009. This place definitely fit the bill as we stumbled upon it purely by chance while on an April hike around Louisville Swamp. The Louisville Swamp area itself is just a small part of a much larger area known as the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and is located between the cities of Carver and Jordan, Minnesota. Not only was the farm not even mentioned on the DNR info center in the parking lot, it was also remote as heck, being about a 5 to 6 mile hike just to get there. After traversing some backwaters of the Minnesota River known as Sand Creek by way of a piled rock crossing, you come up a hillside to the original farmhouse. Surprisingly, there were historical markers to read about the homestead and you could even walk inside the house. Inside was a barrel stove surrounded by a few rustic benches. From the outside, it looked like it had been repaired to some extent, probably even having it's original wooden shingles replaced in the last 10 years or so. Even more intriguing than the house, were two quite large structures, the larger of which was missing it's entire main roof as well as large sections of wall from additions that appeared to have been added later. The third and furthest building was in the best condition, probably having been refurbished the most. It was locked down and even had iron grates over the windows. The historical markers themselves were somewhat vague and rustic. The one thing I do remember reading is that the farm remained in the Jabs family up until the 1950's before being donated to the state -or something to that effect. I'd really like to visit this place next year to learn more about it.