Westport Town Farm

Westport Town Farm may be the last “poor farm” in the Commonwealth that remains both owned by a municipality and utilized for agricultural purposes.

This 40-acre riverfront property boasts not only spectacular views of the West Branch of the Westport River, but historical and environmental significance too.

By the end of the Revolutionary War, Westport was already caring for its neediest citizens. Thus the establishment in 1824 of an almshouse or “poor farm” on this site was by far the community’s strongest manifestation of this commitment to the less fortunate. Over the next 15 years the farm was expanded; a new barn was built and livestock hers grew. The Town Farm, as it came to be called, continued to shelter the aged and infirm, orphans and vagabonds, for more than a century. A deaf and blind woman, Lurana Manchester, was 39 when she arrived. She remained on the farm until her death in 1894, at age 92.

By the time of FDR and the New Deal, federal and state human services programs were expanding. Known in final years as the “town infirmary”, it closed in 1956. The property may be the last “poor farm” in the Commonwealth that remains both owned by a municipality and utilized for agricultural purposes. This makes it scenic, historically and ecologically significant – and unique. After the farm ceased to operate in the 1950s, dedicated volunteers and generous citizens worked for three decades to save the property from both deterioration and development. Today, working with the Town of Westport, The Trustees are managing this historic landscape as a cultural and environmental resource for the public.

want to volunteer?

We always need more volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering with the Westport Land Trust, then give us a call at (508) 636-9228 or simply email info@westportlandtrust.org and put “Volunteer” in the subject line.