Leavenworth Tree Farm
The Leavenworth, Palmer & Knickerbocker Family Conservation Restriction
The Leavenworth property consists of gently sloping undeveloped open space land, primarily forest and fields that comprises the well known Leavenworth Tree Farm. The Property has been owned by the Leavenworth family since 1952. Scenic Christmas Tree and open fields on the Property have been a fixture along the Coleman Road streetscape.
The property is part of an unspoiled agricultural landscape along Coleman Road that is increaseingly more uncommon in Cheshire due to residential development. The Leavenworth & Knickerbocker families determined that acquisition of a Conservation Restriction on their Property will promote its charitable purposes of protecting areas of rural, scenic, agricultural,watershed, and natural resource value in their hometown of Cheshire
The agreement with the CLT ensures that their farm property may be used now and in the future for agricultural, passive recreational, horticultural,animal husbandry, equestrian, forestry, and related purposes with no residential development on the property now or in the future.
With an invitation from Charlotte Leavenworth, a longtime member, The Cheshire Land Trust became a willing partner in the conservation planning early in 2011 culminating in the agreement with her family in March 2013.
Today 38 acres of the 42 acre farm are protected by this agreement.
Sue Knickerbocker provided this perspective on the donation and some background on the farms long history...
" My father graduated from Yale School of Forestry before joining the army (WWII). When he came home from the war he wanted to find a peaceful spot to live and in 1952 he found this farm for sale in Cheshire. My mother attended Yale Art School and had grown up in older homes and had a deep interest in the architecture of the farm buildings. She was also a bird lover and conservationist and they both found this farm as a place to fulfill their dreams.
During their lives on the farm my mother established a blue bird colony and until her end worked at insuring that blue birds and other song birds found the farm as a sanctuary also. They loved this area and often talked about how rural it was when they moved in and at times would even need to wait while driving home as the cows were herded down Coleman Road. My father worked for the State DEP as a land acquisition agent for open space and established the tree farm as his hobby.
Over the years as they saw the encroachment with Radmere Road development, Ashley Court and Platts Knoll they began discussing how to protect their farm. It was both their wishes that the farm be preserved from development and stay in the family as a farm. Unfortunately this task was not completed before we lost them but there was no doubt of their intentions. In discussions on this topic with my brother John Leavenworth and sister Phoebe Palmer we came to an agreement that their wishes should be fulfilled and hence this environmental restriction to insure that this farm not only preserve their wishes but become a piece of the "Old Cheshire".
Interestingly, our farm was actually part of the original Bristol farm that extended from Wallingford Road on the north, Jinny Hill Road on the south, Coleman Road on the east and Route 10 to the west. Over the years it was divided several times and sold off. Our farm house was built by Joel Hunt as a residence to this portion of the farm in 1840 and it overlooked the main barite mine in Cheshire owned by Joel Hunt. The main barn recently restored was built in the mid 1700's and moved to it's present location around 1840, most likely by Joel Hunt. Although not part of the restriction, these many farm buildings have a history that goes along with the rest of the property and we are currently involved adding the five structures to the state registry of historic buildings."