the trustees of reservations
On The Land
The Trustees of Reservations

Monday, August 5, 2013

Conservation in Boxborough - Steele Farm CR and Historic Preservation Restriction protects a beloved landscape!

The hot month of July saw the closing of a new conservation restriction and historic preservation restriction held by The Trustees of Reservations that protects and increases access to a beautiful historic farm in an area of high development pressure!  

Steele Farm Conservation & Historic Preservation Restriction - Boxborough, MA

Beautiful open meadows at Steele Farm provide great bird habitat and quality hay.
The 1784 Levi Wetherbee House is listed in The National Register of Historic Places.
Steele Farm in Boxborough is a bucolic local treasure that will inspire nature and history lovers alike.  We are excited to announce that its 36 acres and historic buildings listed on The National Register of Historic Places are now protected forever through a partnership between The Trustees of Reservations and The Boxborough Historical Society, adding to Boxborough's network of conservation land.  The town still owns the property, purchasing it in 1994 to preserve one of its oldest and most historic farms, beloved as a former orchard and Christmas tree farm, and a reminder of the area's deep agricultural roots.  The house was built by Levi Wetherbee, a member of one of the town's founding families, and traces its origins to 1784.  Evidence of apple orchard and dairy farming can be found in the function of the beautiful 1940s barn.  A 1904 ice house was re-located to the property in the 1990s from another farm in town, preserving another kind of historic structure that you just don't see very much anymore!  A network of trails loops around the farm and connects to the adjacent Beaver Brook Meadows conservation land - and Steele Farm's protection brings this block of conservation land up to 100 acres! 

The ice house and barn hearken back to a different era.

A cacophony of grassland bird calls can be heard in spring when the bobolinks nest, and resident mammals seen peeking out of the woods or drinking from the streams on the property.  The Trustees will watch over the conservation values of the property, while Boxborough Historical Society will ensure that the historic features are preserved in perpetuity.  The Steele Farm Advisory Committee advises the town on land management and will be spearheading the property's long-term management planning process.  In the meantime, Steele Farm is a popular spot open for public use and recreation (for trail map, click here!) and local youth organizations are encouraged to organize camping trips (must be approved by the town first!) there too.  Find it at 484 Middle Road in Boxborough and unwind for a bit.

Many thanks to the tireless work of the Steele Farm Advisory Committee, Boxborough Historical Society, The Town of Boxborough, and the support of the citizens of Boxborough, the Boxborough Conservation Trust, and former TTOR CR Program Director Chris Rodstrom, to realize this community vision of conservation for public use and enjoyment!  

Steele Farm in high springtime.

Steele Farm as viewed from above!