About the Farm
Alford Olson, a Swedish immigrant, purchased the property in 1879-it had been a logging mill. Four years later, he and Mary wed, and they had two children, Anna and Alfred. Sadly, Alford died prematurely in 1887, leaving the farm and its operation to Mary. Mary's brother John Anderson moved in to assist on the farm and Mary remarried Eric Magnus Johnson in 1895, but she always kept possession of the farm, and later passed it on to Anna and Alfred when she passed away in 1938. Anna and Alfred lived out their entire lives on the farm until Anna's death in 1971.
Throughout its existence, the farm has diversified its activities, but it has always essentially operated as a subsistence farm. In its early days it was a source of timber and hops. After hops declined in value, the Olson family moved into raising cows for dairy and veal, poultry and egg farming, apple harvesting, and potato farming. Mary wove rag rugs to sell in town and Alfred took up hunting and sold pelts. The entire family pitched in to use whatever skills and resources they had to make a living, and evidence of their endeavors can be seen throughout the farm today.
Becoming the Mary Olson Farm
In the 1970's the farm was rented out to various tenants and some renovations were begun on the buildings, but never completed. In 1994, after many years of vacancy and deteriorations, the City of Auburn purchased the remaining 60 acres of the farm. After several years of planning and fundraising, restoration work began on the major buildings, as well as projects surrounding the restoration on Olson Creek and reclaiming the pastures from years of neglect and invasion by Himalayan blackberries. The final restoration projects were finished in 2011 and the Mary Olson Farm opened that summer for the first time to the general public.
Today, visitors can tour inside the restored 1897 barn, pause and consider what life was like on a rural farm in the 1902 farmhouse, or wander through the century-old orchard and learn about the many varieties of apples and cherries Alfred Olson cultivated. Other restored and preserved structures on the property include a garage, weaving shed, chicken coop, outhouse, smokehouse, and 19th century wagon road.
Learn more about the Farm's History- Read our nomination for the National Register of Historic Places.
Click HERE to take a video tour of the Farm!
The beautiful Mary Olson Farm is located on Green River Road and is operated as a partnership between the White River Valley Museum and the City of Auburn. It is said to be King County's best preserved subsistence farm and has been fully restored.
Admission - Closed for the Season
*Free admission during regular open hours.To help us maintain this wonderful property a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $2 for children is greatly appreciated!
*Special events occurring outside of these dates and hours may have an additional fee.
For information on the Mary Olson Farm please contact the museum at 253-288-7433.
Location (no mail please)
28728 Green River Road SE
Kent, WA 98030
There is a Farm parking lot on Green River road just North of the Farm's entrance. From the parking lot walk the old wagon road for an approximately 1/8 mile walk with a grade to the Farm.
Handicap Parking and Accessibility
Guests with limited mobility should be dropped off at the Farm's front entrance and vehicles be parked in the main parking lot. The Farm's paths and buildings are accessible.