The Farm at Selu was dedicated in July 2006 and was the second phase of the planning for Selu Conservancy, which opened in fall 1997. Volunteers and friends of the Appalachian Studies program at Radford University interpret farm and home life for RU students, public and private schools in the region, and community residents. Eight volunteers conduct tours, with each group spending 20 minutes at each of several stations in and outside the farmhouse.
Visitors to the replicated 1930s homestead on Radford University’s 380-acre Selu conservancy can now “hear,” as well as see, what life was like for a typical 1930s family, thanks to volunteers who helped restore an antique radio and produce a CD featuring music, commercials, and speeches of that era.
Ricky Cox, the farm’s tour director and an instructor of Appalachian Studies and English, wanted visitors to have an intimate connection with the era as they tour the Farm at Selu. Radford resident and retired Kollmorgen Corporation engineer Ken Olsen designed and built a power supply for the 1930s radio so visitors could experience the hum and crackle of tube-amplified AM radio.
Professor Emeritus of Communication Clay Waite became interested in helping and the project gained momentum when Waite listed the aid of university staff members Ashlee Claud, Jon Benfield and then student-worker Calvin Pynn.
Waite and Benfield sought out public domain recordings from the glory days of the Grand Ole Opry, the Lone Ranger radio program, commercials, and a speech by President Roosevelt.
The CD plays in the background when visitors take the self-guided tour of the farmhouse.
For more information on the Farm at Selu
Contact Ricky Cox at the Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center at 831-6153.