Bend in the River Regional Park is located on the former property of the Graves family. The farmstead near Rice, Minnesota, was established as a park in 2002. The Graves family owned and operated the farm from 1912 until they sold it to Benton County in 2002.
The property was owned by George Wolhart from the 1880s until he sold it to the Graves. In 1907 Wolhart constructed a saltbox style barn — a style commonly used in the 19th century by Pennsylvania Dutch farmers.
The Graves replaced the old log house on the property with a narrow, white, two-story clapboard house with a full basement. The basement was used for Carleton Graves’ veterinary practice. The house still has its original doors, windows, flooring, and woodwork — although visitors aren’t allowed inside to see it and the windows have been boarded up.
The Graves family practiced diversified farming. Their farm consisted of the barn and silo, a corn crib, potato storage barn, woodshed, chicken coop, piggery, granary, and a machine shed. A garage was added in 1915 for the Graves’ new car. Visitors can walk around all of these buildings today or take a walk through restored prairie and woods along the top of the river bluff. I enjoyed a handful of wild raspberries warmed by the sun on my walk as I watched butterflies and bees flitter from wildflower to wildflower.
The park is located 1.4 miles south of Rice on River Road. There is a sign for it on Highway 10 going north. And if you’re ever canoeing or kayaking along the Mississippi, make sure to stop at the park. There is a sign to direct river users to the farmstead, where you’ll find fresh drinking water, toilets, and picnic tables.