The Little Village Farm-turned-museum is a place where people can visit to see pieces of the rural past – big and small – in rural South Dakota.
A Collection of Eleven Barns!
Jim Lacey, Trent, South Dakota, collects something bigger that most; he collects barns. Yes, barns. There are eleven of them, all neatly placed on his land just west of Trent, population 233.
Once the eleven barns were moved onto the Lacey farm, they started to get their own collections of historical pieces. Each barn holds and proudly displays tractors, toys, egg candling equipment, incubators, farm equipment, mowers, washing machines, windmills, tins, tools, kitchen utensils, hog oilers, gas station pumps, dollhouses, artillery shells, stoves, flour sacks, old signs, windmill weights, jars, bottles, cans, lightning rods, engines and so much more. And, there are hats: Somewhere close to 7,200 seed corn-type hats now make a colorful circle along the inside of two entire barns.
Jim and his wife, Joan, were pickers before pickers became popular on cable television. Their collection shows it, but once in a while they’ll end up with something that’s a duplicate, or something they just don’t need. That’s why they added the reclaimed chicken house to the farm.
This building houses Joan’s antique store, “a rather eclectic group of items which are changing quite often,” Jim says. Joan’s eye for historic décor and her talent for arranging merchandise make it almost impossible to leave without a purchase.
Visitors are welcome at the village – a sign in the front yard asks guests to stop by the nearby house or call to make an appointment. It’s easy to find – just three and a half miles east of Exit 104, the Trent exit, off of Interstate 29, north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They request a small donation per person to get the tour, but $5 per adult doesn’t come close to covering the delightful stories Jim will share about each of the barns and their collections.
Jim and Joan are doing all they can to preserve the past, but the preservation really relies on the future and the interest of the next generation to carry it forward. It’s not always easy to take a road off the Interstates in South Dakota, but this exit is worth the trip for the whole family.