Joshua’s Trust, Northeast Connecticut’s largest land trust, has relocated its office to the historic Atwood Farm at 624 Wormwood Hill Road in Mansfield. The Trust, which had leased Mansfield’s landmark Eagleville Schoolhouse on South Eagleville Road for nearly 23 years, completed the move on January 13.
The 68-acre Atwood Farm was given to Joshua’s Trust in 2012 as a bequest from Isabelle Atwood, a life-long Mansfield resident and a founding member of the Trust. Isabelle and her twin sister Harriet were born in 1918 and lived together on the farm all of their lives, until Harriet’s death in 1984.
The farm includes the rambling nineteenth century home the Trust now uses for its operations, as well as a barn, a blacksmith’s shop and other outbuildings that the Trust plans to open to the public as a museum. The grounds also include an extensive heirloom fruit orchard, woodlots, pastures and hayfields which are currently managed by a local farmer.
“Thanks to the astounding generosity of Isabelle Atwood,” Joshua’s Trust Executive Director Michael Hveem said, “we now have a historic and comfortable space where volunteers can work together, where we can host public events, and where people can learn what conservation meant a hundred years ago and what it means today.”
The historical significance of the farm includes a link to Connecticut politics: Isabelle Atwood’s grandfather purchased the property that is now the Farm in 1877. In that same year he married Harriet Cross – first cousin to Wilbur Cross, who served as Connecticut’s governor from 1931 to 1939.
According to Hveem, the Trust will be open to the public from 12 pm to 5 pm every Tuesday and Thursday and by appointment. Joshua’s Trust will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary next year, and now protects more than 6,000 acres of property and conservation easements in Andover, Ashford, Chaplin, Columbia, Coventry, Eastford, Franklin, Hampton, Lebanon, Mansfield, Scotland, Tolland, Willington and Windham.
“We welcome visitors,” Hveem said, “and hope that Trust members and future members will come by and get a tour of our wonderful new home.”