Continued from the previous blog.
Forty-two years ago a different kind of "pioneer" come to the farm.
After only two other owners, Learning Tree Farm was founded on 55 of the original 106 acres in 1973. Family and friends of Jean Ryan and Sally Keyes formed a Partnership, Land Group V, to buy the land as a real estate investment, which would enable them to lease the 55 acres to Learning Tree Project, Inc. The two groups signed a 20-year lease. Later, on October 14, 1989, an Enffeofment Ceremony was held as the members of Land Group V, Dr Thomas E. Kernan, DDS, Joseph A. Keyes, Dr Richard Lieberman, DDS, Dr Kenneth Manifold, DDS, Dr Gary Igleburger, DDS, John R. Kernan, and Frank Krug donated their shares of the land to the Board of Trustees of the Learning Tree Project. After the land was secured, the Learning Tree Project also became known as Learning Tree Farm.
"Century House" (1829-1929) was opened to the public in April, 1996 with a special exhibit called "The First Hundred Years" made possible by a grant from Culture Works/ Montgomery County Regional Arts and Cultural District and the loan of artifacts and documents belonging to cousins of the original family.
In May of 1998, an adjacent 5 acres of the original 106 acres was added to the Learning Tree Farm through a gift from Gladys Turner, Joel Davis, Terry Meehan, the Allyn Foundation and the Kuntz Foundation.
The exterior of the house has been repaired, painted and the porch has been rebuilt. The dining room has been papered with wallpaper appropriate to the period, the floor painted, an area rug in place, and three plate racks on the walls. The kitchen has been painted, the cooking fireplace and hearth has been reopened (and found to be in excellent condition), a log mantelpiece has been installed over the hearth and a large reproduction of an antique "Jelly Cabinet" has been donated. Funds for the renovation were limited and most of the work has been done by volunteers, members of the "Century House Committee", chaired by Board Member, Joel O. Davis.
You can visit the farm any day to get a better understanding of the enormity of the investment and gift to our community these people and organizations have made. Stay tuned for more details in this intriguing story!