Prairie Loft History


How Prairie Loft Began

2000 The idea forms to save the buildings & start an experiential education program.

2003  Eight acres are leased for $1 per acre.

2004 Eight acres are purchased. Grounds enhancements begin.

2005 Prairie Loft gains 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

2006  House and livestock barn are moved to the site.

2007  Regular education programming begins.

2008  Major building renovations begin.

2008-2016  Nearly 50,000 visitors come to Prairie Loft for events, field trips, workshops, and other activities.

This postcard from the early 1940’s shows the Hastings Regional Center grounds. Ingleside farm is at the top of the photo. The future Education Center and Loft Barn are visible top center.

This photo shows one of the many barns on site. Bob said this barn was first hit by a storm and later burned down.

The farm office on the left and the huge farmhouse were central to Ingleside operations in the 1940’s.

Both buildings are now gone.

Historic Prairie Loft

The land where Prairie Loft sits was once part of a farm operation that was part of the state mental hospital once known as Ingleside, and later as the Hastings Regional Center. At its peak, the farm housed cattle, horses, hogs, chickens and ducks. Produce ranged from acres of cabbage to banana trees in the greenhouse. Folks in Hastings remember this as the best dairy operation in the state at one time. If you have stories or memories to share of the farm, please email or call 402-463-0565.

Thanks to Bob Frank for sharing some of these photos taken by his late wife, Blanche Schuman Frank.

Blanche was housekeeper for the site superintendent in 1941 and 1942.

This shows the farm cottage from another perspective. Locals remember annual employee dances in the parlor.

This photo circa 1930’s shows workers in the field at Ingleside. The crop may be sugar beets. Note the horse-drawn wagons in the background.

Ingleside Farm had its own railroad depot. The raised ground where it sat is still visible just north of Prairie Loft property.