News

Historic farm protected in the Rondout

NEW YORK, NY — April 22, 2010 — The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced today the purchase and preservation of the nearly 300-year-old, 140-acre Appeldoorn Farm, also known locally as the Sykes Farm.

The Accord, NY farm, acquired by OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, has an extensive history that is intertwined with the history of the Schoonmaker family, which has been farming the fertile fields of the Rondout Valley for 330 years.

According to the Friends of Historic Rochester, the original Schoonmaker to settle in the Rondout Valley, Jochem Schoonmaker, helped his son Benjamin build a dwelling on the Appeldoorn property in 1722. Five generations of Schoonmakers owned and farmed the property before it was inherited by two Schoonmaker nephews, Howard and Edward Sykes, in 1931. The Sykes nephews substantially expanded the old farmhouse into the manor house that it is today, and sold the property in 2003.

The property also includes 140 acres of productive farmland and woods, running along Route 209 and stretching from Whitfield Road over the Airport Road, which currently supports a beef cattle operation that is run by Wayne and Cathy Brooks. From Airport Road, the property (which includes an old runway used for crop dusting) has extensive views of the Shawangunk Ridge and the Rondout Valley.

“By acquiring this farm, OSI has a chance to protect both agriculture and important regional history in this part of New York State,” said Joe Martens, OSI’s president. “Appeldoorn furthers OSI’s commitment to preserving farmland in the shadow of the Shawangunk Ridge while paying tribute to the hard-working Dutch farmers who tilled the soil for more than three centuries.”

OSI purchased the property to protect the important history of Appeldoorn farm, including the substantial manor house, a stone game house built in the 1930s, a Dutch barn, a Victorian “dower” house located on Route 209, and other buildings.

OSI’s acquisition also protects the productive and scenic farmland that runs along Airport Road and Route 209. OSI intends to market and resell the historic stone houses subject to an historic preservation easement, and to ensure the long-term preservation and continued farm use of the extensive farm fields, through which the North Peterskill stream wends.

This is the seventh farm that OSI has protected in the Rondout Valley, bringing the total acreage of farms it has protected to over 1,250 acres. The protected farms include the Davenport farm on Route 209 and Tongore Road in Stone Ridge; the former Misner farm on Tongore Road, which is now a successful dairy farm owned by Frank and Cindy Brooks; the Osterhoudt farm on Route 213 in Stone Ridge (black angus beef); the Paul farm in Hurley; the Davis farm on Route 209 in Kerhonkson; and the Domino (DeWitt) farm on Airport Road in the town of Rochester, another dairy farm.

OSI has protected over 3,200 acres of productive farmland in the two valleys that straddle the Shawangunk Ridge, the Rondout and Wallkill valleys, and has protected over 10,000 acres of productive farmland in the Hudson River Valley and the Capitol Region, including Saratoga and Washington counties.


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