The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 20, 2003


CCF celebrates conservation of Clark Farm

A Carlisle treasure has been preserved. Thanks to the generosity of Grant and Helene Wilson and Dot Clark and her family, the vista, the open fields and the beauty of Clark Farm, between Concord Street and School Street, will be preserved in perpetuity for all to enjoy. A celebration of the completion of the Clark Farm conservation restrictions was held at the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF) annual meeting at the home of Mary Zoll on Monday, June 9.

Together, these conservation restrictions (CRs) permanently protect over 64 acres, including approximately 45 acres of contiguous no-build areas, most notably all of the hayfields visible from Concord Street and School Street. The Wilson CR also grants CCF a permanent public trail easement over the fields between Concord Street, next to the old Lapham Christmas tree farm and the School Street/Baldwin Road intersection.

The difference between the 64-acres of total land covered by the CRs and 45 acres of no-build areas are several single-family home-building envelopes. Two single-family building envelopes are provided on the 9.7-acre Clark property, located where the Clark house and Clark barns presently stand. Another three building envelopes, for up to five single-family homes, are provided on the 54.5-acre Wilson property, all of them well back behind the existing tree lines.

The gift of these conservation restrictions fulfills the promise to permanently protect this land that the Clark and Wilson families made to each other and to the Carlisle Land Trust as they worked on the limited development of the property in the late 1980s. In fact, the fundamental plan for these CRs tracks the planning work done by George Foote and Greg Peterson for the Carlisle Land Trust.

Grant Wilson told the meeting that the Clark Farm CRs are another example of the Conservation Foundation's work to buy key parcels of land, saving the prime pieces for open space and developing a portion to pay for the purchase. Bates Farm on Bedford Road and the Hutchins and Robbins (formerly Wang-Coombs) cornfields on Curve Street are other examples.

The Clark Farm is one of the most iconic properties in Carlisle, as well as the home of Guy and Dot Clark, long-time community leaders. Dot Clark, acknowledging the gratitude of those present at the annual meeting, briefly spoke of the history of Clark Farm. The dairy farm purchased in 1898, has been in the Clark family for five generations, for 103 years until the mid-1980s. She then told a story. One day while she was working at the library someone commented on the fact that the cows on the farm were gone. Yes, Dot replied, the cows were gone. The person then said that of course she hoped the farm would continue selling manure. Dot answered, "Well not for long because we have lost our manufacturing plant."

Clark Farm also provided many of the location shots for the 1992 Hollywood film "Housesitter" starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn.

Following signature by the Selectmen, expected next week, the CRs will be officially signed by the Commonwealth's Secretary of Environmental Affairs, and then recorded with the Registry of Deeds in Lowell, where they become part of the permanent land records for these properties.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito