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Harvest Festival promotes Gage County history

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Families got a taste of the outdoors this weekend when the Filley Stone Barn hosted its annual Harvest Festival on Saturday.

The event was held in partnership with Pioneer Days last Wednesday and Thursday, in which fourth graders from area elementary schools were invited to see and experience the trades of the time period in which the barn was built.

“The kids can saw a log with an old saw, shuck and shell corn, and they can watch the blacksmith and ride the horse-drawn carriage or wagon,” said Cassandra Dean, the Gage County Historical Society Museum Administrator. “We want the community to know the history of the barn of see some of these old trades."

The barn was built in 1874 by Elijah and Emma Filley, the first upland homesteaders in Gage County. It was constructed by a group of community masons, carpenters and farmers from the area that were needing jobs during a financially difficult period.

The limestone was all quarried from the Blue Springs area and hauled to the site two miles southwest of Filley.

It is the largest bank barn in the state of Nebraska.

On April 11, 1977, the barn was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Filley Stone Barn and just over three acres, plus $10,000 for restoration were willed to the Gage County Historical Society in 1978 by Edwin Pedersen.

Restoration of the barn was completed in 1982 and an additional 20 acres was added to the site in 1986.

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