Yunker Farm Children's Museum –
1201 28th Avenue North
Fargo, North Dakota
www.childrensmuseum-yunker.org * (701) 232-6102
Adults/Children: $5.00 per person * Children under 1 year: FREE * Members: FREE
Train Rides....$1:00 * Carousel... 50 cents.
Summer Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 1pm-5pm
School Year Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 1pm-5pm
Closed on Monday (unless it is a school holiday)
Yunker Farm Children's Museum is located on the southwest corner of the old Yunker farm property, that also is the home for many outside activities and a dog park. It is located off the main drag, University Drive N., and is on 28th Avenue North, between University Drive N., and 10th Street N.
This red brick farm house, first owned by the Newton Witman family, followed by the Yunker family, was originally a 2 and the 3/4 story home. The downstairs had the parlor, dining room and one bedroom. Second floor had 4 big bedrooms, and the 3/4 attic was used for animal harness storage. A long table was there so family members could repair the animal harnesses during the winter months.
At some point in time, a newer, two story addition with a sun deck was also added, but it's architecture is similar to the rest of the building. The outside of the building is red with white trim, with its 1876 character still intact.
Today, this old farm house has evolved into a fun/interactive place for children. Tom and I were given a tour of the inside; first floor of this museum, by a friendly lady in charge, who told us of the changes done in the renovation. Some of the original walls were torn down to make rooms more open. A new entrance and registration lobby was added onto the original house. Inside, the decor is an interesting mix of oak and bright colors, that make the exhibits eye-catching and inviting to children. The aura of the inside of Yunker Farm Children's Museum is warm, inviting and friendly!
An elevator tower was also added, using the original image of a unique windmill, enclosed in wood clapboard siding, that once existed with the original farm. Great care was used in renovating this property, being sensitive to its historical architecture.
There is lots to do for children; both inside and outside. Inside, there are many exhibits, including:
Puppet Theater * Where In The World * Explore A Store * Under The Sea * Funky Faces * Where In The World * Planetarium
Outside, children love the Wild Flower Meadows * ABC Garden * Yunkie Express (train ride) * Carousel * Nature Trails * Yunker Bunker (miniature golf course). There is also a large eating area to enjoy a brought snack or lunch.
Younger children's activities are upstairs. An example or two: Bee Hive * Patty's Book Nook
Yunker Farm Children's Museum has been created inside an 1876 farmhouse, originally built for farmer Newton Whitman, his wife and their 8 children. Newton donated the left-over bricks to the community, and a school was also built on his property as well. John and Elizabeth Yunker bought the farm and farm house, from Newton Whitman, in 1905, and raised their 10 children there. It was convenient to have the school located on their property. There is a plaque on the side of the museum in honor of this school house, the oldest, rural school house still standing in North Dakota.
When John Yonkers died in 1929, Elizabeth Yonkers continued to run the farm, raising turkeys to support her large family. Her son, Laurence, took over the farm until he retired, and sold the property in 1968. The property was eventually donated to the Fargo Park District.
In 1985, The Junior League of Fargo/Moorhead and the Fargo Park District, came up with the idea of turning this old farm house/school house into a Children's Museum. The entire property was huge enough to offer outside activities, as well as the possibilities that could be set up in this 100 year old brick structure. With the help of volunteers and generous financial support from the business community of Fargo and Moorhead, the renovation of this red brick farm house and the development of the outside property was completed in just 4 years. The Children's' Museum at Yunker Farm opened in November of 1989.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
When a property is being used in a way that really pleases a past dead owner, or original founder, this can act like an environmental trigger and encourage them to visit a lot and cheer on the living owner.
( Cabbage Patch House * Speed Museum * Easton State Theater for the Arts * Parry Mansion )
Elizabeth loved children, and would be thrilled that her house has become a children's museum.
Many children who have drowned, ending their lives, are reported as entities in many stories on hauntedhouses.com.
( Saint Augustine Lighthouse * Meade Hotel * Copper Queen Hotel * The Logan Inn * Inwood Manor )
Female Entity - Thought to be a member of the Yunker Family (probably Elizabeth Yunker). She loved children while alive, and is happy to see her home turned into such a happy place for children. She visits a lot.
This female entity really likes to hangout upstairs, where smaller children play and have activities.
Doors and windows have a mind of their own, opening and closing at will.
The elevator button is pushed by unseen hands, and goes up and down, merrily on its own schedule.
When the children have gone, and staff members are by themselves, they feel a friendly, warm unseen presence keeping them company.
Water Well - located on the property.
A female entity of a little girl, who is said to have drowned in the well, haunts this area, so says urban legend; though:
A young ghost hunter claimed to have seen her in broad daylight, standing next to the well. No evidence was caught though.
This same young ghost hunter felt pain in his chest, like he couldn't breathe, as if he was drowning. He guessed that she was trying to tell him how she died.
Some unnamed staff member(s) must have talked to both author Lori Orser, and investigator/author Rich Newman; reporting their paranormal experiences with the female entity inside.
Outside, an inexperienced, but probably psychically gifted, perhaps clairvoyant young ghost hunter claims to have seen the young girl in broad daylight, standing near the old well, and physically felt how she died. Sounds like a successful psychic investigation, but with no proof in pictures or EVPs.
No hard evidence that I can find has been published on line, and no organized investigations have been allowed inside, as the Yunker Farm Children's Museum doesn't want to get the reputation of having a spirit, and scare children away. They already know that they do have a spirit, and they perhaps don't want investigators bothering her, or making her become more active. But, perhaps she already has become more active, between 2009 and 2011, as Rich Newman got permission to publish this story, as well as the picture of the museum.
Probably so, with visiting spirits.
Some common physical signs of a haunting have been experienced; the playing with the elevator, and the activity that happens with the doors and windows certainly suggest the presence of an unseen entity. Some staff can feel her unseen, friendly presence, which isn't proof, but can be true. Elizabeth must especially enjoy the little ones, as she apparently likes the exhibits on the second floor.
It is also possible that some school child, or a daughter or a child friend of one of the families who were attached to this property, suffered a dumb kid accident, and drowned in the well. Many children who have drowned are reported as entities in many stories on hauntedhouses.com.
Spooky, Creepy North Dakota
by Lori Orser
The Ghost Hunter's Field Guide
by Rich Newman
Tour of Yunker Farm Children's Museum
taken by Julie Carr
childrensmuseum-yunker.org * yourghoststories.com * .hdgarchitecture.com