A Tour of the Property ca. 1917

A Tour of the Property in 1917

To understand the landscape of Craftsman Farms we need, quite literally, to reorient ourselves.  While today the entrance to the Museum is off Manor Lane, in Stickley's time one entered from the eastern side of the property where a driveway started from what is now Route 53.  Surrounded by forrested land on both sides, the narrow driveway led to a stone bridge and across the railroad and trolley tracks before any evidence of agriculture became visible.  As one moved up the road, fields and forrests were visible to the right, and an old farm house, probably surrounded with chicken coops was visible.  Past the farm house, the road forked and one could either go left and out to what is now Route 10, or continue up the hill along the tree-lined driveway.  The road bent around to the left, following the edge of a natural ravine that Stickley called Woodthrush Glen, and although there were open fields to the right, tree lines, hedges, and the increasing elevation probably prevented the core of the domestic area from being seen.

It was not until a sharp right turn that the Log House would have been revealed along this route, set above a sunken rose garden and dominating the hillside above.  If you stopped to take in this view, you might have noticed that hedges and stone piers were used to divide the driveway from the garden and lent an air of formality to the space.  Your eye might be drawn along the driveway to the two cottages in the distance, which stood across from a series of planted beds that were separated from the driveway by hedges and additional stone piers.  Continuing upward between the cottages and Log House the north lawn emerged and cottages, chicken coops, and farm sheds were visible.

The road wrapped around kitchen side of the Log House and initially passed along the north side of a stucco and stone building that had living quarters above for the chaffeur, though at some point it was brought along the eastern and southern sides.   An outdoor dining area defined by eight massive stone piers was visible, and at some point, a shingled garage was erected at the edge of the ravine that probably had a red slate roof identical to those on the cottages.  

Continuing up towards the farm buildings, you would have moved through an orchard and perhaps noticed the stucco pump building in the ravine that supplied water to the farm buildings.  The farm buildings in 1917 were a blend of Stickley-built structures and those that remained on the farms he assembled into this property,  and probably included an earlier stone dairy just below the Cow Barn.  The road continued up past these buildings and would have brought you onto what is now Route 10.

You can browse some of the landmarks on the property by using the aerial photograph below:

Even having come up through the entrance, crossed the railroad tracks, passed through the residential core of the property with the Log House and cottages, and made your way up the hill to the farm buildings and exited to the road, your impression of the property would have been woefully incomplete.  At 650 acres, and assembled from twenty-six different properties, Craftsman Farms covered more than a square mile of land and extended past Powder Mill Road (on the eastern edge) and encompassed another 100+ acres on the opposite side of Route 10 made from various properties and containing the reservoir that supplied water to the buildings.   While the 1938 aerial photograph above is amongst the clearest early views of the property we have, even this image does not contain the complete extent of Craftsman Farms in Stickley's time.

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