Property History

Three hundred years of farming

The history of Westport Town Farm

This spectacular coastscape had been farmed since Colonial times before the progressive and humanitarian instincts of Westport residents transformed the property into a refuge for the ill, needy, and indigent in the mid-19th century.

The Town Farm, as it came to be called, continued to shelter the aged and infirm, orphans and vagabonds, for more than a century. A deaf and blind woman, Lurana Manchester, was 39 when she arrived. She remained on the farm until her death in 1894, at age 92. The farm operated well into the 20th-century, but by the time of FDR and the New Deal, federal and state human services programs were expanding. Known in final years as the “town infirmary,” it closed in 1956.

After the farm ceased to operate in the 1950s, dedicated volunteers and generous citizens worked for three decades to save the property from both deterioration and development. Today, working with the Town of Westport, The Trustees is managing this historic landscape as a cultural and environmental resource for the public.

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