The Friends of Adams Farm, Inc.

The Friends of Adams Farm (FOAF) is a group of area residents dedicated to preserving the idyllic environment that is Adams Farm for future generations to enjoy. Every year, we see more and more encroachment on our town and neighborhoods in both building and traffic explosions. We feel we owe our grandchildren’s grandchildren the chance to experience what life, the environment, local history, and geography were like in the past.

Working closely with the Adams Farm Committee (a 7-member committee appointed by the town to oversee the Farm) and the Walpole Selectmen, FOAF raises money to fund the maintenance and enhancement of the Farm property. FOAF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation with a current membership of close to 320 families.

Our Objectives

It is our intent, according to our Charter, to work toward the preservation and enhancement of the Farm for the citizens of Walpole. A few examples of preservation include fence mending and painting, trail clearing, brush clearing for fire prevention, and forestry management. Many enhancements have been suggested such as trail signage, historical site signage, picnic sites, and garden plots to attract birds. The potential list is long, but it is our intention not to allow anything that would change the basic character of Adams Farm.

Adams Farm Committee

Not to be confused with the Friends of Adams Farm, which is their fundraising arm, the Adams Farm Committee is a seven-member committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The Adams Farm Committee has the responsibility of overseeing the use and maintenance of Adams Farm, including the ongoing monitoring of forestry and wildlife resources of the property, and of making recommendations to the Selectmen, Town Meeting, and other appropriate parties regarding matters relating to Adams Farm.

The Adams Farm Committee also maintains and promotes the relationship with and between New England Forestry, the Norfolk County Agricultural School, and other abutters. The Committee participated in the formation of the Friends of Adams Farm, recognizing that an independent group would better be able to provide fundraising for projects that enhance people’s enjoyment of Adams Farm.

 

What is Adams Farm?

Adams Farm is not a legally-defined property. It is made up of over 700 acres of land, of which approximately 365 acres were purchased under the override in 1997. It also loosely includes land in private conservation trusts adjacent to the town-owned land, and the property already owned by the Town, as well as adjacent property owned by the New England Forestry Foundation and the Norfolk County Agricultural School. The Friends of Adams Farm has close ties and agreements of cooperation with both of these organizations in promoting our mutual objectives. In total, this adds up to over 700 acres.

History

The town-owned land that makes up a portion of Adams Farm was owned by the Isaacs family prior to being sold to the town in 1997.

The Isaacs family were long-time Walpole residents. Mr. Isaacs was an executive of the First National Bank of Boston. He also was an early conservationist who, over the years, acquired property in Walpole and other locations in eastern Massachusetts. His purchases, in addition to his North Street home, included about 400 acres across and down North Street, including Hillcrest Farm. Hillcrest Farm was the original farmhouse and barns for the current Adams Farm property. He placed most of this property in a protective tax mode, both agricultural- and forestry-related. It is our understanding that his objective was to keep the property in its pristine condition for the future.

Upon his death, his son Kenneth C.A. Isaacs assumed control as administrator of his father’s estate. Facing estate taxation issues as administrator, much like family farms everywhere, he was forced to offer the property for development in order to meet estate tax obligations. However, with the tax protection mode selected by the senior Isaacs, the Town of Walpole had the right-of-first-refusal.

Based on the recommendation of the Selectmen of Walpole, as proposed by the Isaacs Land Study Committee, an $8 million override ballot question was adopted to pick up the Town’s option. This override was passed by the people of Walpole, and here we are! This vote speaks volumes to the intent of the people of Walpole to preserve this land for the future.

The initial purchase cost to the Town was $7,715,000. At this time, had we not purchased the Farm, many of the 170 (or more) houses would have been built with the attendance increase in the school population, placing even more serious pressure on the School, Public Safety, and Public Works services of the town.