Novelty Hill Farm is located just south of Duvall, where the town of Novelty once stood. Our farm is the only remaining landmark from that town, although it continues to show up on maps. Our family has owned the farm since the late 1800's. George and Emily Pickering purchased the farm from the original homesteader, Mr. Peets, in 1884.
At it's height, the town of Novelty included a post office, church, store, dance hall, and hotel. Unfortunately, the old store and dance hall burned down in 1969.
The Pickering family raised dairy cattle and produced milk for three generations. Originally the cows were hand milked and the milk containers were picked up by riverboat on the Snoqualmie River. After they installed electricity, they began using milking machines. The cows were sold in 1963, but the family continued to farm on the side, raising many children, gardens, pigs, calves, horses, and llamas. Currently, members of the 5th, 6th, and 7th generation live on the farm!
Our beautiful barns are 85 years old and have survived aging, lack of use, floods, fire, human errors, and drainage issues. We sell pumpkins and trees to raise funds to preserve our barns.
We received grant funds from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation as well as King County’s Historic Preservation Program to replace siding, rebuild doors, replace the foundation, and paint the Dairy Barn. The expense was great, and we matched and exceeded the amounts we received from grants. We bought a milling machine to mill the wood to match the original shiplap siding.
In 2019 we moved the Calf Barn to higher ground North of the Dairy Barn. We replaced the foundation and the bracing and siding where needed. This is a King County Archives photo from 1940, before a fire that destroyed the upper portion of the building.
In Fall 2020 we were able to restore this beautiful building to its original form. We also insulated it and installed heating/A/C, so it can keep people comfortable year round. It made a great "one-room school house" for our kids during the pandemic. Now, it houses our farm store seasonally, and is open for rentals too!