The Trustees of Reservations has closed on a 66-acre parcel of land at Moraine Farm in Beverly, a move that will allow the conservation group to add a new reservation to its portfolio of 123 properties. The acquisition includes scenic Wenham Lake frontage, an estate house designed by Peabody & Stearns, gardens, sweeping views, and a lush landscape designed by iconic landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
The property will not be officially open to the public until later this year, but The Trustees plans to create a greater connection between the community and this historic landscape.
Beverly Mayor Michael P. Cahill said “The City of Beverly is proud to partner with The Trustees of Reservations to ensure this amazing campus at Moraine Farm will forever be a resource both for residents of Beverly and all who come to visit. We plan to work closely with the Trustees team to maximize access and opportunities for Beverly residents, including community gardening space, educational programming, connections to the adjacent city-owned Phillips Preserve, active community programming, and more.”
“This is something we’ve worked toward as an organization for many decades, and it would never have happened without our generous donors, including tremendous support from the City of Beverly,” said Trustees President and chief executive John Judge. “Moraine Farm is an Olmsted masterpiece that we will not only protect forever but make publicly accessible for the enjoyment of everyone.”
The landscape includes towering, century-old rhododendrons, sweeping lawns, acres of coniferous forest, babbling brooks, looping paths, and meandering stone walls.
“It has this sort of surprising and magical quality where everything feels completely natural, but it’s crafted to be shockingly beautiful,” says Caitlin McCormick Small, executive director of Project Adventure.
Project Adventure will continue to operate at Moraine Farm by agreement with The Trustees. Also operating at Moraine Farm are the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm, and the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a program of Tufts University that helps build resilient local food systems by training new farmers.
The Trustees already owned four smaller parcels at Moraine Farm, which were donated by the Batchelder Trust. The new acquisition will allow the public to access parts of the property that have been kept private until now.
The original 275-acre parcel comprising Moraine Farm was purchased by John C. Phillips in 1879, at which point Phillips commissioned Olmsted to design his country estate. The farm takes its name from a low ridge of glacial debris called a moraine, which Olmsted used to provide an elevated vantage point for the landscape. After Phillips and his wife passed away, 175 acres of the land was bought by George and Katherine Batchelder and passed it down to George III and Mimi Batchelder, who rejuvenated the farm and property after George and Katherine’s deaths in 1979.