A little piece of history dies forever in Woodbury

The people who lived an agrarian life in once-farm-rich Woodbury could only hold out so long in the face of the city’s march toward being Anyplace, USA.

In the last two days, the flag of surrender went up over the city when Wayne and Betty Schilling posted a sign outside their farm on Bailey Road, one of the last remaining plots of land in the city that hasn’t yet seen a bulldozer. They’ve announced their farm will be auctioned off later this month.

It’s a symbolic loss, but not an unexpected one, of course. There hasn’t been room for the farmer in the city in years.

When MPR’s Dan Olson profiled the couple 14 years ago, they still had cows — the last working farm in Woodbury. They’ve been gone for a decade, but the family kept farming. You could still buy fresh vegetables in a stand at the end of the dirt driveway.

At one time they farmed 550 acres.

“It used to be a farming community, and when you went to a community gathering the conversations you had were concerning agriculture; how the crops were doing, how the cattle were doing,” Wayne Schilling told Mpls-St. Paul Magazine in 2002.

His great-great grandfather settled the place in 1858.

It was a good run, Woodbury.

  • Chris Hatch

    this makes me sad. I grew up in neighborhoods around Woodbury High School and used to love biking around (and occasionally through) all of the farms/fields in the area.

    I moved in the late 90s, and when a friend moved back there recently by the sports complex, I couldn’t believe how much had changed and how different it looked. I actually got lost going to his house because I didn’t recognize anything out there.

  • Stephen Rosenmeier

    Not sure about the last working farm part. See the NE corner of Wdby, West of Manning and North of Hudson Road. Quick, before it’s destroyed.