HIGH PONDS FARM   Hazen's Notch, Montgomery, Vermont > History


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History of the High Ponds Farm

Subsistence Farming

In the late 1800ís the High Ponds Farm consisted of three subsistence farms: one around the end of the Rossier Road where the small white house now stands; another centered around the Moosewood Ponds; and the third at the High Meadow.

John Dodge moved to the High Meadow with his parents Elizabeth & Rodney Dodge from Eden in 1876. John Dodge was seven years old in 1876. The family built a house and a barn on stone foundations. The foundations remain while the buildings are gone.

In 1900 John Dodge acquired the two lower farms. He married, raised a family and continued to farm here until 1945. He then moved to Montgomery Center.

 

A Gentleman Farmer's Stewardship

The next owner was Kenneth Freer of Richford. Freer was the recently retired postmaster of Richford. He maintained a permanent home in Richford as he cared for the old Dodge Farm. Kenneth Freer planted the small field leading towards the beaver ponds in white spruce. He planted Cortland apple trees in the pasture above and behind the small white house as well as in the High Meadow. Freer also kept some beef cattle.

 

Land Speculators: Benign Neglect

Freer sold the farm to land investors in 1968. These owners from New York City did not maintain the property. The orchards, pastures and hayfield became overgrown. With people and livestock now absent, beaver moved in and created a complex of ponds at the site of the former middle farm. This is where the Moosewood Ponds are located.

Another land investor from Stowe purchased the property in the 1980's. Like the former NYC owners he did not maintain the property. A saving grace was that neither of the two speculators ever developed the property. The latter of the two speculators did subdivide the property. He sold the High Meadow and adjacent woods to a logger from Berkshire who harvested many trees from this and other adjoining properties in the early 1990's.

 

Conservation Buyers

The Anderson Family purchased the larger pacel that includes the small white house, lower old fields and beaver ponds in 1995. Next they purchased 160 acres on Burnt Mountain. Then the Andersons purchased the High Meadow and surrounding woodlands from the logger in Berkshire. This had the effect of undoing the subdivision and restoring the original farm. The additional 160 acres the family purchased on Burnt Mountain significantly enlarged the property. It also preserved the trails which the Andersons had built to the summit of Burnt Mountain and protected the wildlife habitat in this area.

The Anderson Family undertook to restore the landscape, repair woods roads, create trails, allow public access for low-impact recreation and preserve the natural resources. The stewardship management plan which the Andersons created emphasizes the protection of the biological integrity of the land while providing opportunities for recreation, and environmental education.

 

 

Copyright 2001-2015 High Ponds Farm LLC  All Rights Reserved. Last updated September 28, 2015.

  High Ponds Farm LLC  l  P.O. Box 479  l  Montgomery Center VT 05471  l    l  802.326.4799