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Roberts Farm Preserve
Roberts Farm Preserve: Trail Map
MPBN By ROBBIE FEINBERG • JUL 21, 2017
How Maine Educators Are Working To Make Summer School Less Dreaded
“We had a middle school principal, and he said, ‘This doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,’” says Patrick Carson of the Oxford Hills School District in South Paris. “Why put kids back in an environment where they failed? Only to struggle again?”
Carson and other staff say students weren’t seeing success in the traditional summer school model. So, about six years ago, the district overhauled its summer program." READ MORE
CREDIT ROBBIE FEINBERG / MAINE PUBLIC
Instead of a classroom, some students now come to Roberts Farm Preserve, in Norway. About 40 middle schoolers come here for three weeks during the summer. And it’s about the furthest thing from a classroom that you could imagine.
In The News: Roberts Farm Preserve Summer Program
For anyone who gets the Spectrum TV channel (formerly TimeWarner), there is a 4-minute segment on the winter programs at Roberts Farm that played as part of Your Magazine. Watching this clip during a too-hot day this summer will cool you down.
The piece, which features skiers from the Paris Elementary School, groomer volunteer David Greenleaf and Executive Director Lee Dassler, introduced the Preserve to many new visitors.
Thank you, Spectrum!
Roberts Farm Preserve is a conservation and recreation project of the Western Foothills Land Trust. We welcome you to respectfully explore the 165 acre Preserve using the trails provided. The agricultural history of this land will reveal itself as you skirt the farm pond, passing through remnants of fields and pastures, through numerous stone walls, orchards, and groves.
1787–1823 Dudley Pike and the founding of Norway, Maine. Part of Henry Rust’s 6,000 acre purchase known as Rustfield, Massachusetts, this 165 acre parcel was purchased from Rust by Dudley Pike in 1787. Pike, one of the incorporators of the town of Norway, gave the rights to the northwesterly section of the land to his son, Henry Pike, in his 1818 will.
1880–1920 John Roberts marries Henry Pike’s daughter Carrie in 1881 and assumes management of the farm. Within a decade Roberts transformed it into a model Maine farm that produced, among other commodities, 100 lbs. of butter per week. “Located on a commanding eminence among the Oxford hills and having a fine view of Norway lake that nestles at the foot of the nearby mountains, [Roberts farm] contains over 200 acres of choice and highly cultivated land, and here has been built up as one of the finest dairy establishments in this section of Maine.” (A Visit to the Fine Dairy Farm of Hon. John A. Roberts, Lewiston Journal, 1903) Roberts was a Bowdoin graduate, a farmer, a lawyer, a trustee of the University of Maine, a founding trustee of the Norway Library, a State Representative, a State Senator, and the Maine State Commissioner of Agriculture from 1913 until his death in 1920.
1920–2007 Thaddeus Roberts, John and Carrie’s son, farmed the land until 1968. Thaddeus’ son, John A. Roberts Jr., sold the original farmhouse lot in the 1970s and retained the land as a separate 161 acre parcel. By 2000, the historic fields and pastures had returned to woodlands. The property was sold, logged, and sold again in 2002 to the Growth Council of the Oxford Hills with the intention to build a technology park on the site. The project never materialized, and in July 2007, the Land Trust negotiated for the Preserve’s purchase.
2007–Present Recognizing the site’s cultural and resource conservation significance, as well as the strategic recreational potential of the parcel, The Western Foothills Land Trust purchased the former dairy farm as two separate lots with great support from the community and state. In December 2009, the Trust purchased the 1823 Pike-Roberts farmstead that you see behind you. Planning for its adaptive reuse is ongoing.
Roberts Farm Preserve Trail Names
The trail names honor some of our community’s exemplary residents.
Akers Field Vivian Akers (1886–1956) Professional portrait and landscape artist and photographer, Akers had a studio in Norway. In 1959 he was commissioned to paint the portrait of Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Dunham Trail (hiking) Mellie Dunham (1853–1931) Snowshoe craftsman and long bow fiddler, Mellie began making handcrafted rawhide snowshoes in 1906 with Walter Tubbs. In 1910 the firm outfitted Admiral Peary for his Arctic expedition. By the 1930s Norway boasted that it was the snowshoe capital of the world. Mellie was also a nationally renowned fiddler and fiddle tune composer, commissioned by Henry Ford.
Gates Cutoff Hortense Gates (1879–1967) Poet and children’s book author, Hortense worked for the Advertiser Democrat for 25 years.
Howe Cutoff George Howe (1860–1950) Born in Norway, George graduated from Tufts University with a degree in mineralogy, spurring interest and success in local amethyst mining. George started a club called The Adventure Club, which was very similar to the Boy Scouts. Howe taught mineralogy, geology, astronomy, and appreciation of the outdoors at local summer camps.
Kaemmerling Cutoff Maude Kaemmerling (1874–1957) Trained in classical music, Maude Thompson managed her family’s lumber trade. She and her husband, Admiral Gustav Kaemmerling, built their summer home on Rock Island in Lake Pennesseewassee. Always generous to Norway, Maude funded the construction of the 1938 Norway Memorial Library and eventually donated the original structure, which would become Stephens Memorial Hospital.
Libby Trail Minnie F. Libby (1863–1947) Miss Libby studied art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. At 22 she opened up her own photography studio in Norway, serving as the town’s photographer for the next 60 years.
Rust Trail Henry Rust (1737-1812) cabinet maker and merchant. Henry built a brick store in Salem, MA in 1787, and the following year bought 6000 acres calling it Rustfield, which is now the town of Norway. By 1789 Henry established the first gristmill in Rustfield and donated the land for the church, school, and cemetery. Although he is buried in Essex, MA, his sons Henry, John, and Joseph are buried in Norway. Rustfield was incorporated as the Town of Norway by the state of Massachusetts in 1797.
Scalar Cutoff Madam Scalar (1869–1944) Madam Scalar’s real name was Minnie Plummer. Born in West Paris, her gift for music was recognized during childhood. Her musical talents led her to training in Boston and eventually Europe. In France she picked up the name Scalar, meaning “climbing stairs.” After many years touring with opera companies in Europe and the United States, Minnie returned to South Paris where she married C. A. Stephens.
Stephens Trail C. A. Stephens (1844–1931) A graduate of Bowdoin College, Stephens wrote over 1,500 stories for The Youth’s Companion. The characters were loosely based on his childhood in Norway. In 1884, The Companion sent Stephens to Boston University School of Medicine, where he graduated in 1887. He went on to specialize in geriatrics and built an addition onto his house called “The Laboratory,” where he practiced. His wife died in 1911 and two years later he married the famous opera singer Madam Scalar.
Walker Trail (hiking/snowshoe/mountain bike) Harry Walker (1909-1995) was a beloved, sometimes cantankerous, Yankee through and through. He was a writer, an artist, and a dairy farmer. A talented athlete, he was an expert free-throw thrower well into his 70s. As a columnist for the Advertiser Democrat, Harry Walker recounted the history of the farms and the characters of the Oxford Hills with humor and an endearing understanding.
Whitman Cutoff Charles Foster Whitman (1848–1932) A graduate of Bates Latin School, Charles became the first judge of the newly formed Norway Municipal Court. He served as Clerk of Courts, was a public school supervisor, co-owner of a newspaper, and a founder of the Norway Public Library. Charles coauthored A History of Buckfield, Oxford County, Maine and A History of Norway, Maine.
Tucker Cutoff Cyrus S. Tucker (1841–1899) Cyrus was an apprentice harness maker when he volunteered with the Union Army. A corporal in the 17th Maine Regiment, Cyrus fought in the Battles of Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and in the Battle of the Wilderness. After returning to Norway, he continued his family harness business in the S.S. Hall building which burned in the Norway fire of 1894. Cyrus rebuilt the building in brick.
Biographies written by students at the
Ganderia Middle School, Norway
Become a Friend of Roberts Farm Preserve
Make a contribution that fits your life and trail use.
We’ll send you a laminated mini trail map.
Support The Work of the Land Trust Within Our Community
Part of the network of land trusts protecting open space, agricultural and forest lands, and natural resources in Maine, The Western Foothills Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) corporation. Founded in 1987, the Trust protects over 3,600 acres of land in a 10-town area.
Working Together For The Community
Corporate and Foundation Supporters
The Betterment Fund
Crossway Family Dental
Davis Conservation Foundation
Fare Share Co-op
Fields Pond Foundation
First Universalist Church of Norway
Harvest Moon Produce
Healthy Oxford Hills
Land For Maine’s Future Fund
L.L. Bean/MCHT Land Trust
Maine Community Foundation
Maine Dept. of Conservation
Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund
Moose Pond Arts+Ecology
Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust
Moss Mountain Project
National Park Service, RTCA
New England Grassroots
Norway Saving Bank
Norway Triathlon Committee
Stephens Healthcare Foundation
The Oxford Group
William P. Wharton Trust
W.J. Wheeler & Co., Inc.
Woods Lawn Company
Western Foothills Land Trust is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. | EIN# 01-6083123
WFLT PO Box 107, 445 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268 | 207-739-2124
Wes and Marilyn Ackley
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