Monday, November 21, 2016

Day 21: Seymour and Emma Pelz Farm Preserve

Hay fields with scenic westward views from Cheshire Street, and Quinnipiac River frontage, in northeast Cheshire.  

Size: 13.1 acres
Nearest Road: Sylvan Lane
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: August 2001
Donor: Emma Pelz

Emma “Lee” Pelz had several choices to make when considering the future of her land, including selling it for development.  Her choice, a very generous one, was to give it to the Cheshire Land Trust.

On September 6, 2001, Pelz donated a 13.1-acre parcel (excluding her house and three acres) to the CLT as the “Seymour and Emma Pelz Farm Preserve”.  As part of the condition of the gift, she stipulated that the property retain its agricultural character with limited use of chemicals and pesticides. Retention of the property’s agricultural appearance and westward views are emphasized in the gifting documents.

View of Pelz Farm Preserve, September 2016
The property is on the west side of Cheshire Street, bordered to the west by the Quinnipiac River and to the south by CLT’s Ives Farm.  Pelz’s former house to the north is a private residence.  The majority of the property is open field, except for a wooded riparian buffer that runs along the Quinnipiac River, and narrow treelines along Cheshire Street and the Ives Farm boundary.  There is a small spring-fed pond on the property that has been very dry for the past few years.  During wet times, the pond has supported freshwater mussels.

Haying on Pelz Farm Preserve - early summer 2016
Maps and documents in the CLT archives suggest that the Pelz property has been continuously farmed since at least the early 20th Century.  Based on the known history of the adjacent Ives Farm and similar site conditions, it is possible, if not likely, that the Pelz Farm has been in some level of active agriculture since at least the mid-1800s. The Pelz Farm Preserve is currently managed for hay.

Mrs. Pelz preserved her land and provided an enduring legacy for the Pelz family. At the time of the donation, Mrs. Pelz said or her husband: “Sy loved this property and wanted it to stay the same. I wanted to honor his wishes. And for me it has been a very satisfying process because now I know the land will be taken care of.”

The Seymour and Emma Pelz Farm Preserve is not currently open to the public, but provides terrific westward views from Cheshire Street.  More about this property is on the CLT website’s Pelz Farm Preserve page.

Do you live next to or near the Seymour and Emma Pelz Farm Preserve?  Have you ever passed it on Cheshire Street or seen it in the distance from Ives Farm?  Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire. 

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