The Dairy Building was the first to be built at the agmuseum. It shows the cheese making process from the barn to the sale room. At the turn of the century, there were many cheese factories in Ontario. In 1928, there were 273 cheese factories in Central Ontario.
We have an apple display and a working bee hive. There is also a replica of the 1940s Whitehead’s Restaurant, with its authentic jukebox and soda fountain. It was a popular meeting spot in Stirling for many years. Hastings Federation of Women’s Institutes has recreated a typical farmhouse from the 1930s in the Dairy Building.
Steam Engine House
The huge 100 year old Robert Bell steam engine was built in Seaforth, Ontario in 1909 by the Robert Bell Steam Engine and Threshing Company. It was shipped to Stirling by train. The Stapley family, who lived just east of Stirling, used the steam engine to power the threshing machines, which harvested grain. They took the engine from farm to farm at harvest time. The Steam Engine Building at Farmtown Park houses numerous engines and artifacts including a vast display of chain saws. The Robert Bell Steam Engine and the huge diesel engine are on display as well.
The Antique Tractor Building at Farmtown Park houses over 50 tractors, and takes the visitor through the evolution of the farm tractor. It is a very impressive display, put together by the over 60 folks who are active members of the Tractor Club. The mission of Tractor Club is to preserve classic tractors and agricultural machinery.
You can find the whole history of harvesting equipment at Farmtown Park, not only for harvesting grain, but also for making hay and straw.
Hay is dried grass, which farmers put into bales to feed to the animals in winter. Before machines for making bales were invented, farmers used to put the hay loose onto wagons and take it to the barn to be stored. They lifted the hay using a hessian sling and swung it into the hayloft. Once balers were introduced, farmers could bale the hay in the field and because the hay in bales is compacted, farmers can store more of it.
In the Tillage Building at Farmtown Park you can find out about the importance of the fertile soils of Hastings County, the different crops farmers grow and how they cultivate the land, plant seed and tend crops. There are wonderful murals on the walls of horses plowing and scenes of the rural countryside of Hastings County.
The Hastings County Plowmen’s Association sponsors the displays. Each year one can watch farmers from Ontario and Quebec compete in the horse tractor and tractor plowing competitions at the Hastings County Farm Show and Plowing Match.
Heritage Village is a street with 19 buildings representing a village in Hastings County from the 1930s and 1940s. Going inside each store is like stepping into the past. There is a print shop with a working printing press. The Stirling-Rawdon Fire Department has given a very early fire truck and a pumper wagon for the Fire Hall. There is a blacksmith shop, a wood worker’s shop, a garage, a bank, a general store, a shoe store, a hotel and even a town hall and a church with a working Karn pump organ.
George V Schoolhouse
The George V Schoolhouse is set up as a one room schoolhouse dating from the 1930s. Smaller schools were common in the rural area until the mid sixies. At Grand Parents Day in September, children can experience what it was like to go to a one room schoolhouse.
The new interactive children’s Discovery Centre was opened by Roy Bonisteel at the Strawberry Social on June 2011. It is home to the amazing Jack Ward Collection of die-cast toy tractors and trucks, and the diorama of Stirling and area where everything is in miniature. Watch the new All is Silence video for children and remember our veterans.