Press Releases

The Trustees Celebrate Newest Reservation at Moraine Farm in Beverly

Beverly  |  June 7, 2024

BEVERLY, Mass. – The public is welcome to enjoy the newest reservation owned and managed by The Trustees on the North Shore. The 145-acre Moraine Farm was celebrated  with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Trustees, the City of Beverly and the Beverly Chamber of Commerce.

“At Moraine Farm we are protecting forever a landscape designed by the famed Frederick Law Olmsted and providing community gardening space to almost 90 Beverly residents.” said Katie Theoharides, president and CEO of The Trustees. “The work of many partnerships, including with the Cape Ann Waldorf School, the City of Beverly, Project Adventure, New Entry, the Essex County Greenbelt Association, and the Friends of Olmsted Landscape at Moraine Farm, made it possible to preserve and care for the land forever and connect people with nature and locally-raised food.”

The Olmsted-designed property along the shores of Wenham Lake includes rustic stone walls, lawns, ledges, meadows, forests, and vistas that are incorporated among a 40-acre farm, estate house, and gardens. Olmsted was an important mentor to Charles Eliot, the founder of The Trustees.

Completed in 1882, Olmsted integrated the latest advances in farming and forestry with a landscape of leisure to be something you explore, with views at each turn of the road. Today, with the fields, forests, and estate grounds clearly defined, Olmsted’s three carriage loops are now walking trails for visitors.

The Trustees acquired the property in 2022 after a successful fundraising campaign raised $4.15 million, of which $1.1 million was received through a generous grant from the City of Beverly through its Community Preservation Act (CPA) Fund. When the 145 acres held by The Trustees is combined with the 85 acres at the neighboring J.C. Phillips Nature Preserve, a total of 230 acres is now protected.

“We are excited to celebrate our new and expanded community garden here at Moraine Farm and the new Trustees’ reservation,” said Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill. “The taxpayers of Beverly helped make this all possible with $1.1 million in Community Preservation Act funds, contributing to purchasing and permanently protecting a 66-acre parcel on the Moraine Farm campus two years ago. What a great resource this will now be for the people of Beverly and visitors to Moraine Farm!”

A partnership agreement between The Trustees and the Cape Ann Waldorf School provides for co-ownership. Sixteen acres are also currently farmed by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, an initiative of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, which works locally, regionally, and across the country to strengthen local food systems by supporting new farmers. The Trustees also are providing approximately 90 plots for a community garden for Beverly residents on the property.

The property is now permanently protected. Two other nonprofit organizations that share a stewardship interest in Moraine Farm are Essex County Greenbelt Association, which monitors the conservation restriction on the property, and the Friends of the Olmsted Landscape at Moraine Farm, a volunteer group dedicated to preserving the farm’s unique Olmsted heritage. In addition, the City of Beverly will hold a Conservation Restriction on 11 acres of formerly developable parcels.

The property includes scenic Wenham Lake frontage, an estate house and Pavilion designed by Peabody & Stearns, gardens, sweeping views, and a beautiful meadow. The Trustees plans to create a greater connection between the community and the historic landscape. Walking trails on Moraine Farm link to the existing network of trails at the City of Beverly’s J.C. Phillips Nature Preserve, located directly north of Moraine Farm. Also, when combined with recently revitalized public gardens at the Trustees’ Long Hill property in Beverly’s Centerville neighborhood, Beverly will be home to two distinctive cultural landscapes protected and programmed by The Trustees.

The original 275-acre parcel comprising Moraine Farm was purchased by John C. Phillips in 1879, at which point Phillips commissioned Olmsted to design his country estate. The farm takes 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 loop through 75 acres of coniferous forest to an overlook on the edge of the farm, which is still in use today. Moraine Farm is considered a superb example of many of the design principles that Olmsted employed in his later works, including at Biltmore in Asheville, N.C.

After Phillips and his wife passed away, 175 acres of the land was bought by George and Katherine Batchelder and passed it down to George III and Mimi Batchelder, who rejuvenated the farm and property after George and Katherine’s deaths in 1979. The Batchelder family donated a perpetual conservation and historic preservation restriction on the land to The Trustees and the Essex County Greenbelt Association in 1991.

In 1999, Project Adventure acquired part of the parcel now owned by The Trustees. The experiential education organization that provides adventure-based learning experiences and tools to promote growth in individuals, schools, healthy communities, and effective organizations, will continue to operate at Moraine Farm under an agreement with The Trustees.




More about The Trustees

Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 130 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the one of the oldest preservation and conservation organization, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. We are a nonprofit, supported by members, friends and donors and our more than 120 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually.