A Step Back in Time….
We have joined the NOFA penpal program again this year. We exchange letters with a 4th grade classroom as part of their Vermont History Unit. This year, I decided it would be interesting to give them a historical perspective of the farm.
Grand View Farm
This picture shows the original house (on the left) attached
to the newer house (on the right).
Asa Bacon purchased the original tract of land that Grand View Farm now sits on in January, 1794. It became one of the earliest farms in the town of Washington.  According to family tradition, Asa and a brother came to Washington from Brookfield, Massachusetts, built a log cabin, sowed and planted a few crops, fenced them in, and returned to Massachusetts to gather their families.  When they returned, they found that an animal had broken down the fence and destroyed all their crops except the potatoes, which were all they had to eat that winter except for the game the men could kill.  Asa died in Washington in 1807, aged 69, and his wife lived until 1833 when she died at the age of 91.  The house was constructed in two phases, a smaller cape, built before a circular saw mill came to Chelsea, probably about 1820, and then a larger cape, which was placed right next to the original house. 

Fall early 1900s. Notice the spring house and sugar
house behind the horse.
The farm remained in the Bacon family until 1858, when it was sold to Charles Abbott who then passed it later to his granddaughter and husband, Mac Royce.   Under the stewardship of the Abbott’s and Royce’s, the farm was a busy place.  Diaries kept by Charles Abbott’s son and brother document that life on a hill farm was difficult at best.  The work day was long and very physical without the use of modern equipment available to today’s farmers.  Social and recreational activities were very limited, visiting neighbors and songfests seemed to be the most common entertainment.  
Winter early 1900s.
In 1875, a sugar house was added to a growing number of barns and out buildings.  The following year, the first sugar was produced, much of which was packed in a wooden box and sold to a hotel in Portland, Maine for 6 ½ cents per pound. Other sources of income came from apples, potatoes, turkeys, hay, wool and butter.  (Our property has many old apple trees. They still produce wonderful apples. One day last fall, an elderly woman stopped her car next to one of our old apple trees. She asked if she could pick one of the apples. She said that when she was a very young girl, she was friends with the Royce family and she remembered climbing that tree to help them pick the apples from it. She said it had the sweetest apples from any of the trees on our property.) Income was also made by hiring out for logging, mowing, plowing, grave digging and for the use of machinery.
In 1885, the Abbotts began accumulating materials to build a new house.  Logs were taken to the mill in Chelsea and they began to quarry and split granite blocks for the cellar walls, which were dragged to the building site by oxen team.  When the new house was finished, the old house was attached to it and used mainly for storage of firewood and grain for the animals.  In 1887, the house was finished and Grand View Farm was established.
VT Grand View Farm 2012

The farm sold as a vacation home in 1960, then in 1985, again as a vacation  home. In 2004, the Goodling Family purchased the farm bringing animals and children to the property for the first time in about 50 years. Grand View Farm now raises Romney sheep for their fiber, and sells yarn CSA shares to support their flock. The farm also offers Farmstays to those wanting to experience rural Vermont farm life. 


2 Responses

  1. Rogata Owca

    Thank for this historical post. I was interested in Your farm history. Nice week

  2. Georgia Hadley

    I believe it’s my son’s class you are writing to. How fun!