Brooksvale Farm Preserve ... the oldest family owned and continuosly farmed property in Connecticut
In South Cheshire there is a area known as Brooksvale. This section of town centered around hundreds of acres of farmland that was established by Thomas Brooks in 1705. His son Enos built the home at 532 So. Brooksvale Rd. in 1732. The home was enlarged as the family grew and prospered. Over time some property was sold off as neighborhoods (Avon Boulevard area) were developed in this part of town. For the last 50 years this beautiful property has remained mostly unchanged. It is a defining piece of Cheshire's rural and farming heritage.
Restored white-washed barns as seen from the fields along So. Brooksvale Rd.
The McKee-Lewis property is visible to the public from road frontage along South Brooksvale Road and Mount Sanford Road and the Farmington Canal Linear Park. The property is an unspoiled agricultural landscape that is unusual because of the rapid conversion of rural scenery, farmland, and open space in the region to residential development.
Most of the land belonging to the family members has been protected by a series of Conservation Restriction Agreements and amendments thereto granted to the Cheshire Land Trust between 1992 and 1999. A 3 acre parcel on the corner of S. Brooksvale and Mt. Sanford Rd. was added to the agreement in 2002. The protections on the property were created to sustain farming, which in most recent times has been the harvesting of hay for livestock. Additional protections have been placed on the stone fences that define the scenic fields and the signature brownstone arched bridge over Sanford Brook.
The Property has been owned by the same family since 1732. The renowned "father of landscape architecture," Frederick Law Olmsted, was a member of the family and frequently visited his aunt and uncle at the Property. He developed much of his affinity for the rural, agricultural landscape during such visits to the Property in his formative years.
The Mckee family has always been generous to the community and their gift offers testimony to this spirit. Jean and Betty's father, Waldo McKee, was a charter member of the Cheshire Land Trust. Preservation has been deeply rooted in their family traditions.