2008 Board of Directors:
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- January 19, 1839:
Johan Claus Carstens born in Wesselburen (Schleswig-Holstein) Germany.
Johan Claus Carstens comes to the U.S. He works in Milwaukee, WI and Chicago, IL as a mason, a trade he learned in Germany.
Johan moves to Davenport, IA.
Johan moves to Pottawattamie County, IA and on April 21 purchases 160 acres from the Rock Island Railroad. The cost of the farm was $1760. This farm has been in the Carstens family for three generations.
- April 14, 1872:
Johan Carstens marries Elizabeth (Lizzie) Joenk of Davenport, IA. She was born in Kiel (Schleswig-Holstein) Germany on February 12, 1853.
- June 28, 1873:
Daughter Caroline Josephine is born.
- August 15, 1875:
Son Henry Johan is born.
- March 1905:
Johan and Lizzie move from the farm to Shelby. The farm is farmed by Caroline and her husband, Fred Holdorf, until 1910.
- November 26, 1902:
Son Albert John is born to Henry, Sr. and Anna.
Henry and Anna move to Mexico, MO. Here Henry begins working in the carpenter and building trade.
- January 6, 1904:
Son Herbert Henry is born to Henry, Sr. and Anna.
Henry, Anna and sons Albert & Herbert move to Minden, IA. Henry, Sr. works as a building contractor and opens a wagon repair shop.
- March 4, 1908:
Henry Carstens, Jr. is born.
- March 1, 1910:
Henry, Sr. moves the family to the present-day farm site and begins farming.
- July 5, 1925:
Johan Claus Carstens dies at age 86. He had cancer of the eye and spent many years suffering from this disease.
- February 26, 1929:
Lizzie Carstens dies at age 76. After her death, Henry Carstens, Sr. purchased his sister's share of the farm and became the sole owner.
- December 2, 1955:
Henry Carstens, Sr. dies at age 80.
- March 1966:
Henry (Heine) Carstens, Jr. is diagnosed with cancer of the parotid gland. He spends much of his time in hospitals.
- May 20, 1967:
Anna Dorothy Carstens dies at age 83. At that time, Henry (Heine) Carstens, Jr. took possession of the north half of the farm. The south half was sold.
- June 25, 1976:
Henry (Heine) Carstens, Jr. deeds over to the Historical Society of Pottawattamie County the present 80 acre farm with the buildings. He also assigned to the Society items of personal property, including items from the blacksmith shop, household goods and furnishings.
- June 11, 1977:
Henry (Heine) Carstens, Jr. dies at age 69. He never married.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Heine intended that the farm property and personal items be preserved for posterity. The farm is a witness to the changes farming has gone through in the 20th century, from horse to motor farming. Johan and Henry, Sr., in addition to being farmers, were responsible for building all of the structures found on the farm. Farming, however, was not of interest to Heine, who specialized in blacksmithing. When the Historical Society of Pottawattamie County began their duty as stewards of the farm they had the huge task of cleaning the buildings and the house. Many of the rooms in the house had literally not been touched in 10 years. (Heine much preferred blacksmithing over house cleaning!) The yard was completely composed of thistles and other weeds.
- July 10, 1979:
Carstens Memorial Farmstead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Local residents organize a small threshing show with the cooperation of the Historical Society. Fewer than 50 exhibitors displayed antique equipment.
Carstens Farm Days are held annually the first weekend after Labor Day. Over two hundred exhibitors participated in the 2000 Farm Days.
Despite the popularity of Carstens Farm Days, the Historical Society of Pottawattamie County decides to sell the farmstead along with the equipment and artifacts.
A grassroots effort is organized with the goal of keeping the artifacts and buildings intact. The non-profit Carstens 1880 Farmstead, Inc. was formed in hopes of purchasing the farm to save it as a piece of "living history" of the western Iowa/eastern Nebraska area.
- May 25, 1999:
Carstens Memorial Farmstead is purchased from the Historical Society of Pottawattamie County by Carstens 1880 Farmstead, Inc. for $250,000.
- June 9, 2001:
Carstens 1880 Farmstead hosts the first annual swap meet event.