Cheshire
Land Trust

Cheshire Land Trust

Brooksvale

The McKee - Lewis Conservation Restriction

Jean McKee, Betty McKee Lewis and their cousin Gordon Thayer approached the Cheshire Land Trust in 1992 with the idea of placing a conservation restriction on substantial portions of their historic South Brooksvale Road farm. Their ancestor, Thomas Brooks, had settled with his family in this portion of Cheshire some 275 years before. The farm had remained in the family since that time. They wished to create an agreement that would preserve the rural and scenic character of the farm while retaining ownership and all of the privacy rights associated with that status. The Cheshire Land Trust became a willing partner in the effort.

Today 48 acres of the farmland are protected by this agreement.

 

The sun sets on Jean McKee's South Brooksvale Rd. farm under a fresh mantle of snow cover December 30, 2012

The Enos Brooks House

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Around 1723, when Wallingford had permitted the "west farmers" separate village status, Thomas Brooks provided the area a name.

"New Cheshire" was used in honor of his home county of Cheshire, England.

"Brooksvale" was derived from a combination of the Brooks name and for the three brooks running through the area.

Hay Cut

Fresh Cut - July 2006

Brooksvale Farm Preserve

Location: 532 So. Brooksvale Road

Acreage: 48

Easements in force: 1992 - 2002

Public Access: No - this is a private property with easement protections.

In South Cheshire there is a area known as Brooksvale. This section of town centered around hundreds of acres of farmland that was established by Thomas Brooks in 1705. His son Enos built the home at 532 So. Brooksvale Rd. in 1732. The home was enlarged as the family grew and prospered. Over time some property was sold off as neighborhoods (Avon Boulevard area) were developed in this part of town. For the last 50 years this beautiful property has remained mostly unchanged. It is a defining piece of Cheshire's rural and farming heritage.

McKee-Lewis

This is the well known view of the property as seen from So. Brooksvale Rd.

The McKee-Lewis property is visible to the public from road frontage along South Brooksvale Road and Mount Sanford Road and the Farmington Canal Linear Park. The property is an unspoiled agricultural landscape that is unusual because of the rapid conversion of rural scenery, farmland, and open space in the region to residential development.

Most of the land belonging to the family members has been protected by a series of Conservation Restriction Agreements and amendments thereto granted to the Cheshire Land Trust between 1992  and 1999. A 3 acre parcel on the corner of S. Brooksvale and Mt. Sanford Rd. was added to the agreement in 2002. The protections on the property were created to sustain farming, which in most recent times has been the harvesting of hay for livestock. Additional protections have been placed on the stone fences that define the scenic fields and the signature brownstone arched bridge over Sanford Brook.

The Property has been owned by the same family since 1732.  The renowned "father of landscape architecture," Frederick Law Olmsted, was a member of the family and frequently visited his aunt and uncle at the Property.  He developed much of his affinity for the rural, agricultural landscape during such visits to the Property in his formative years.

The Mckee family has always been generous to the community and their gift offers testimony to this spirit. Jean and Betty's father, Waldo McKee, was a charter member of the Cheshire Land Trust. Preservation has been deeply rooted in their family traditions.

CLT Stewards make their annual Inspection at Brooksvale Farm

CLT stewards make their annual Inspection of the farm property

Picking up the hay bales at Brooksvale Farm Preserve - June 2007

Tim Casey harvested the first cut of the season at Brooksvale Farm Preserve by the third week of June. The job takes a good week with several hands and a few sturdy pieces of equipment to make the process go smoothly. The fields should yield about 2,500 bales of feed quality hay. Near perfect weather made the work go smoothly.

CLT has had a conservation restriction on the So. Brooksvale Rd. farm since 1992. The property has been farmed continuously since 1732.

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Site last updated: February 24, 2013