Daniel Webster farm will be preserved
“We are proud to have acquired the home of one of America’s legendary historic figures,” said Whitney Hatch, director of TPL’s New England office. “Webster Farm is significant, both in New Hampshire and nationally, and protecting it for future generations will protect an important part of American history.”
The 141-acre farm near Franklin, which has nearly a mile of frontage on the Merrimack River, was included earlier this year on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
“Today’s announcement marks a critical step toward the preservation of this important site,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “In his day, Daniel Webster was widely respected for his passionate, articulate defense of the Union. The farm he loved deserves to be treated with the same kind of respect. Without the commitment of local preservationists and the Trust for Public Land, this national treasure — part of New Hampshire’s rich history — may have been lost forever.”
TPL has acquired the farm from a commercial developer at a cost of $1.75 million and is temporarily holding it off the market. TPL and a local non-profit organization, the Webster Farm Preservation Association (WFPA), will now begin an effort to raise funds to permanently protect the farm, along with Webster’s home and several historic buildings on the land. The total needed to complete the project is $2.4 million, which will include immediate stabilization of the buildings and ongoing stewardship funds for the land and buildings.
A neighboring farm family, the Fifes, will eventually purchase the farmland and will work with TPL to establish permanent agricultural easements on the Webster property as well as on some of their own adjacent farmland. TPL and WFPA are working on a proposal for future use of the buildings consistent with their historical significance.
The New Hampshire Land and Communication Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) previously announced that it will contribute $750,000 to the conservation effort. Rachel Rouillard, LCHIP’s executive director, said, “The Webster Farm is our state’s most important at-risk resource. This site has real significance to the entire state, and no other currently endangered site in New Hampshire has deeper history, greater cultural importance or more precious natural resource value.”
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