The Johnston Farm and Rose Hill….are together perhaps the most important spot in American agriculture.
—Liberty Hyde Bailey, Cornell University, 1893
Built by Scotch immigrant John Johnston in 1822, the house originally sat on an important farm where Johnston became a well-known advocate of improved farming techniques. He was the first American farmer to use agricultural drainage tiles to increase productivity on his farm, and it became one of the most famous farms in 19th century America.
He and his wife Margaret raised six daughters and two granddaughters in the house. The family’s story includes the hard times and sorrow of leaving home for an unknown country. It also has the ending of the stereotypical American success story. For the Johnstons, hard work paid off, and the wealth the farm produced gave this middle-class family new opportunities for education, leisure, and charitable work.
Also on the grounds is the Mike Weaver Drain Tile Museum, which contains a comprehensive collection of drain tiles dating from Ancient times to the present.