The Kelley Farm is a unique venue to rent for weddings, celebrations , memorials, and various parties. The Kelley Farm is located at 20021 Sumner-Buckley Highway Bonney Lake, WA 98391. Scott Corliss, manager and owner of Kelley Farm LLC, explained what Kelley Farm is, “It is a very historical property in Pierce County with 2 older homes and a barn. There has been a lot of history there since 1864. My family bought the property as an investment property, hoping to someday develop it, when that didn’t work out due to the economy and other issues; we decided to restore both homes as they were both nearing a state of being condemned. I didn’t have the heart to tear them down. From the time I was old enough to drive and worked for my dad’s company, driving dump truck, I would drive by the houses and think they were very cool houses. The whole farm has a peaceful, tranquil feeling.”
Scott discussed the history of the Kelley Farm.”The prior owners were Kelley Family members, a brother and a sister, that each had shares of the farm property. My father, Harry Corliss, bought part of the farm property in 1976 and always wanted to buy the other area near the houses and barn but, never could make a deal. In 2000, we were able to make contact with Kelley’s great grandson. He lived in California and rented both houses and the property to Doug Cartwright. Cartwright was known to have started the Kelley Creek brewery. The Cartwrights hosted a haunted house in the old barn and had canned food drives. I always thought it was nice that someone was using the property in a way that gave back to the community. He did a good job of keeping it going. When we bought the rest of the property in 2001, the barn was in sad shape as were both houses. We spent quite a bit of time and money refurbishing the two houses; getting them completely restored. We restored basically everything, including the original hardware on the old five panel doors. It was a big job and there was a lot of passion and attention to detail in the process of refurbishing both houses and the barn. We wanted to get it right.We have taken a lot of pride in preserving the history of the property.”
Scott mentioned the purpose of the Kelley Farm, “We have a very, very nice barn that has been re-furbished to accommodate the any kind of event: weddings, celebrations, funerals, parties, anything you want to do. It’s a pretty great venue that accommodates a lot of people. We’ve had memorials, funerals, weddings, Halloween and birthday parties, retirement parties, and everyone comes away with a smile on their face.
The farm is approximately 200 acres. The barn sits on a 60-acre parcel with pasture lands below which are used for various activities; including the Renaissance Faire and the Warrior Dash is scheduled here in 2013.”
When asked what many people may not know about the farm, Scott replied, “It has one of the oldest buildings in Pierce County on it, an old ice house where people kept fruits and veggies. Inside, the temperature is cool like a refrigerator. It’s a small building insulated with saw dust three feet thick all the way around it. We use it as a tool shed now and you can go there on a 90-degree day and it feels like it’s in the mid 50s. It’s cool inside and there’s a huge temperature difference. It would be like a fruit cellar underneath a house. It’s very old, built in the 1860s. It’s located in front of barn about 100 feet away.”
Scott discussed the best things about the Kelley Farm, “The barn and the little green bridal cottage house are the two buildings used for rental events. We’ve had the Renaissance Faire here with its several thousand people for three weekends in a row. They have had a wonderful time at the farm. It’s the perfect setting for the Renaissance Faire, portraying 15th century Scotland. It’s been great for these types of events.
We also have a polo field and have had polo tournaments in the past. We’ve had the Tacoma polo club come out and have several tournaments on the property several years ago.
We’ve have been contacted by the Civil War club and their re-enactment groups have expressed an interest in coming out and spending a weekend doing the Civil War re-enactment which would be fitting for the farm as it is located not far from the Indian Wars in 1855. In fact, it is believed that a home or cabin burned on the property in the 1850’s during the Indian War.
Specifically, the best thing about the Kelley Farm is that it has a special feel to it when you’re there. It’s the feel of the property and its history. There’s a sense of tranquility and peace when you’re at the Kelley Farm. I live there, so every day feels special and I think a lot of people agree and feel that peacefulness when they are there.
Scott commented on what he thought of the Kelley Farm, “Our goal is to preserve the houses, refurbish the barn, and to make it into a property that people can enjoy. Everybody that comes to the farm falls in love with it, that’s a really great feeling. It’s wonderful to preserve a piece of history.”
When asked who he recommended to the farm, Scott replied, “Anybody that wants to have a very special event at a very special place should check us out.” Note: Kelley Farm is an operating farm and not open to the public as a fruit stand or for people to show up to and walk around. The venue is open to the public to rent and reservations are required if the public wants to see it through appointment only.
For more information about the Kelley Farm, please visit: www.TheKelleyFarm.com. “My family is excited and appreciative of the opportunity to own it, preserve it, and invite the public to enjoy it,” Scott concluded.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com