Moraine Farm History

Moraine Farm

In Beverly, Olmsted – an important mentor to Trustees founder Charles Eliot – combined scientific farming and forestry with a landscape of leisure, all on 275 acres located along the shores of Lake Wenham owned by John C. Phillips. He created lawns, hedges, rustic stone walls, and a magnificent meadow – and collaborated with Boston architects Peabody and Stearns to design a massive stone terrace facing the lake, extending the shingle-and-stone house into the landscape. A former scientific farmer himself, Olmsted may have been especially proud of the working section of the farm, for which he designed an underground drainage system that turned spring floodland into productive fields.

The farm took its name from a low ridge of glacial debris, called a moraine, which Olmsted used to provide an elevated vantage point for the paths and carriage drives that looped through 75 acres of coniferous forest, passed lake and meadow views, and climbed to an overlook on the edge of the 40-acre farm.

Now 16 acres of that farmland, which has been in continuous production since the Phillips era, has become part of The Trustees Moraine Farm reservation. Including an additional eight acres on Wenham Lake, The Trustees received 37 acres of Moraine Farm from the Batchelder Family Trust in August of last year. Mimi Batchelder-Brown, whose late husband, George Batchelder III, lived on the property as a child, donated the land from the trust.

Two other nonprofit organizations that share a stewardship interest in the farm are Essex County Greenbelt Association, which monitors the conservation restriction on the property, and the Friends of the Olmsted Landscape, a volunteer group dedicated to the preservation of the farm’s unique Olmsted heritage.

Batchelder Family Papers Regarding Moraine Farm (6.3 linear feet)
Regarding the maintenance and management of Moraine Farm, a landscape originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, most of the collection is from 1980-1999, entire collection spans 1917-2015.

The Archives & Research Center welcomes donations of documents, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and memorabilia that pertain to a particular property. Please contact us at 781.784.8200 or