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The Tilly Foster Farm Museum was a preservation, farming and educational endeavor of the Society for the Preservation of Putnam County Antiquities and Greenways, Inc. (aka Preserve Putnam County) a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The 199 acre Farm is located in the Town of Southeast in Putnam County, NY.
 
Hours of Operation: 
The Tilly Foster Farm Museum is closed. 
 

Putnam County and Beyond Suffer A Great Loss... the Whipples.

on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 20:09
I am deeply saddened by news of the impending conversion of Tilly Foster Farm, which has historically benefited the local community and public at large under the management of George and Meredith Whipple. I am even more distressed by the County's mistreatment of the Whipples -- who have been targeted, maligned and scape-goated by the 'powers-that-be' to bring about the end of Tilly Foster Farm -- as we knew it.
 
I am distressed also by the prospect of county officials pandering to lobbyists with myopic visions of the 'public good.' But let the peddlers of county land use beware ~ denying public access to county land is a cause that cuts against the very heartblood of any electorate.  This is especially true in Putnam County where the  quiet beauty of Tilly Foster Farm's well-kept (pristine) grounds, graceful land-swells and panoramic view, presented a vision not easily wrested from impassioned individuals, who have experienced the farm's unique 'magic' and awesome peace.
 
Moreover, I have long been impressed by the noble character of the Whipples, and know well the hard work and generous 'beyond the call of duty' service they extend to farm visitors of all ages and to other not-for-profit (501(c)3) organizations, such as The Nicholas Tersigni Memorial Foundation.
 
The Nicholas Tersigni Memorial Foundation raises funds for medical research into "Prader-Willi Syndrome" and other congenital birth defects. I served as a volunteer in the cotton candy booth at the foundation's annual fund-raiser ("Nicholas' Festival") October 5, 2013 at Tilly Foster Farm. The festival brought abundant joy to local families and visitors of all ages.
 
Thank you God, for the sunshine and beautiful opportunity to serve.  Thank you Meredith , for working tirelessly to make it happen. Thank you both Meredith and George, for your selfless devotion to the farm – to the animals -- and to the good people of Putnam County.  
 
Mary Ann Di Bari, Esq., Pound Ridge, New York

Tilly Foster Farm heads in a new direction...

on Wed, 07/02/2014 - 22:59
While it is wonderful to see the County finally taking an interest in Tilly Foster Farm, it is very disappointing to see their current course of action. 
 
Putnam County is having a carnival at Tilly Foster on the July 4th weekend. The County is advertising carousels and Ferris wheels, roller coasters and tilt-a-whirls, bumper cars and bouncy houses; along with games of chance. They are having live bands and selling liquor.
 
Bringing an amusement park that sells alcohol is contrary to the nature of the farm.
 
Sadly the Farm has gone from an admirable educational institution with rare animals to an amusement park.
 
The original mission for Tilly Foster was to educate the public about farming, local history and animal husbandry. The farm was a treasure of Putnam County. It is now being reduced to a garish theme park.
 
Putnam County's parks do not allow alcohol, open flames or smoking. Yet the County will be selling liquor. Why is the County immune to these long standing rules?
 
Loud music will certainly disturb the animals, especially as the event will be active until 11:00 pm.
 
Unbelievably the County has told the antique tractor group to keep the two museums locked. The antique tractors and farm machinery were one of the biggest draws to the Farm. They are now being closed to the public.
 
It is distressing to see these disappointing changes at Tilly Foster. It was assumed that Putnam County would continue with the educational endeavors of the Farm.
 
We are very sad to see this is not the case.

A letter from Ned Moran of the Avalon Archives

on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 15:24

My name is Ned Moran and I am a retired New York City Firefighter and Director of Avalon Archives, a musical museum located at Tilly Foster Farm Museum.

I have been in and around Putnam County since 1947 and have owned a home in Kent Cliffs for over forty (40) years.

Some years ago, I donated eight historical church windows to the Putnam Historical Society and to George Whipple’s Preserve Putnam Foundation. When George came to my home to pick up the windows, he became aware of my valuable collection. He had been to a few of my exhibits when I had a small gallery in Kent cliffs in the mid 1990’s.

In mid 2009, George invited me to bring my extensive collection to Tilly Foster Farm Museum to create an attraction for historical tourism in eastern Putnam County.  Because I was a member of the community and loved Putnam County as much as anyone, I was happy to bring Avalon Archives to the Farm, I knew it would draw tourists.

Since coming to the Farm four years ago, thousands of Putnam residents and tourists have been to the museum. Especially popular is out section on musicians connected to Putnam County (we have a film clip of Bob Dylan and banjo legend Earl Scruggs playing music together in a house in Kent Cliffs). 80% of the visitors are from outside Putnam County and 99% of them leave with a smile.

The Museum has received Certificates of Recognition from the Putnam County Historian’s Office, Mental Health Services of Putnam County, New York State Senate and a Special Congressional Recognition for outstanding and invaluable service to the community from the United States Congress.

In addition, we have received letters of appreciation from George Fischer Middle School, Putnam Valley High School, Carmel High School Art Students, the Rye Art Center located in Westchester County, Putnam Arts Council and Kent Historical Society, among others.

The Museum is staffed by volunteers who have contributed more than three thousand (3,000) hours to the Farm open every weekend for the past four years at no cost to the County while bringing in tourist dollars and providing a free and a one-of-a-kind attraction for Putnam residents. Tourism generates revenue while protecting Putnam from overdevelopment; our open spaces are Putnam’s greatest asset.

George Whipple has supported Putnam County in spirit and deeds all of his life.  Meredith Whipple, the Executive Director, the farm hands, the folks at the tractor and antique machinery museum, and Avalon Archives all support each other and work collectively for the betterment of The Farm and Putnam County.  George’s mother spent a month renovating and beautifying the guest cottage.

I would ask Tony DeNoia, who lives on The Farm, and has worked for the Benedict Family and Putnam County about his impression of what Mr. Whipple has done for Tilly Foster Farm Museum instead of Ann Fanizzi, who lost her bid to run The Farm and later lost her frivolous lawsuit against Mr. Whipple in an effort to discredit his name.

I would to invite you all to visit the museum, in small groups please, and welcome the opportunity to show you around and answer any questions you may have regarding Avalon Archives and Tilly Foster Farm Museum.

Respectfully,

Ned Moran, Director.

A letter from Jeff Hyatt of PCAMA

on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 15:20

To the Editor:

My name is Jeff Hyatt and I have been involved with Tilly Foster Farm since 2008. I and Tom Mill have deep roots in Putnam County, 4 generations each. We operate the Antique Tractor barn and Small Museum at Tilly Foster Farm.  We call ourselves Putnam County Antique Machinery “PCAMA”, and our motto is “A Learning Experience for All Ages…”  We host the extremely popular annual antique machinery show which also includes antique cars and trucks. It is held every September at Tilly Foster Farm. We also display our machinery at the Putnam County 4H Fair. 

I had restored an 1891 well drilling rig that was used in Putnam County. George Whipple had seen an article I had written about the well machine restoration. It was stored in a museum in Connecticut and George felt it belonged in Putnam County and asked me to bring it to The Farm.  The 1891 well drilling machine is also displayed at the Dutchess County Fair. It has been written up as the only one in existence by a Master Groundwater Consultant, named Howard (Porky) Cutter.

When we arrived at Tilly, the barn was a mess. We steam cleaned the interior, painted the walls, the floor and poured new concrete where it was missing. George Whipple funded the restoration of the barn and Tom and I, with the support of friends, supplied the labor. The small museum, under the Lodge, was equally disastrous and with George’s backing was restored.

The barn now houses a collection of antique tractors, my well machine, and several hit and miss engines (these are stationary engines used to power machinery on the farm prior to the arrival of electricity) along with a collection of early American farm tools, including corn planters, fodder cutters, corn knives, hay rakes and scythes, and hog scrapers.

The basement of The Lodge houses a collection of early hand-operated water pumps and farm equipment, hand tools, an apple sorter and cider press, a forge, pot belly stove, and Benedict Family memorabilia; we call it the Small Museum.

The main house was being used by squatters, and the roof leaked. Ned Moran, the Director of Avalon Archives, did a wonderful job restoring the first floor of the main house and now has an extensive, world-class collection of music memorabilia.

George obtained the lease and opened the farm up to the public with the idea of having a showcase of rare and endangered American farm animals. Tilly Foster Farm Museum has become a destination place for people from all over the United States and abroad. We have guest books in the barn and small museum which are filled with comments from visitors. Children draw pictures of the tractors, adults have praised us for allowing them to have the opportunity to show their kids what life was like and the older folks reminiscence about growing up with these items. All of this would not be possible except for George Whipple’s vision. George and Meredith Whipple deserve congratulations and kudos for a job well done with very little help except for a dedicated core of volunteers. PCAMA was instrumental in obtaining a 5 ton air conditioning compressor for The Lodge, thanks to Advanced Heating and Cooling for the donation.

George Whipple has complied with the lease demands, dealt with a needless lawsuit and lots of criticism during his tenure at Tilly Foster Farm. George has a passion for Putnam County and we have been the recipients of his dedication to preserving Putnam County’s treasures for generations to enjoy. Folks don’t seem to remember all the good he has done for Putnam County, things like The Spain Cornerstone Park, and the chapel at the Putnam County Park. Putnam will miss Mr. Whipple’s philanthropy and presence in Putnam County. I think the Legislators should be extremely grateful to the Whipple Family and all the good they have done for Putnam County. We will sorely miss his presence and good nature.

We welcome the opportunity to provide a guided tour of the Tractor and Small Museums.  Please come in small groups to allow ample time for any questions.

Sincerely,

Jeff Hyatt

Tom Mill   

            

Change at Tilly Foster Farm

on Mon, 11/18/2013 - 18:57
The Board of Directors of The Society for the Preservation of Putnam County Antiquities and Greenways, Inc. (“Preserve Putnam County”) has, with great sadness, decided to relinquish the Lease of Tilly Foster Farm (the “Farm””). We will assist the County Executive and the Legislature in returning the Farm to direct County control. During the transition, the Tilly Foster Farm Museum will remain free and open to the people of Putnam County and our animals will continue to receive excellent care.
 
Preserve Putnam County is extremely proud of its five-year stewardship of the Farm. It met its goal of keeping the Farm free and open to the people of Putnam County when it was threatened with being closed to Putnam County residents.
 
Preserve Putnam County created a world-class museum of critically endangered Early American farm animals when there was not a single animal on the Farm when it took over the Farm stewardship. Preserve Putnam County added infrastructure to the Farm including painting buildings that had not been painted in 40 years, constructing new fences and maintaining, repairing and painting the traditional white fencing that surrounds the Farm.
 
Thousands of volunteer hours were utilized to keep the Farm attractive for its owner, the people of Putnam County. The Board would especially like to thank Meredith Whipple for assisting the Society in running the Farm and for her daily presence at the Farm for two years struggling against almost insurmountable odds to keep the Farm free and open to her neighbors in Putnam County. The Whipple family additionally donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in meeting the shortfalls of the Farm explicitly so that the Farm would not be closed to the people of Putnam County.
 
Preserve Putnam County has filed with the County every document required by Federal, State and County law, all of which are publicly available, and Preserve Putnam County will provide any information required by its lease agreement with the County.
 
Preserve Putnam County is very proud of its successful venture (and adventure) in its management of the Farm by providing free access for the people of Putnam County. In total, over the last 15 years Preserve Putnam County completed and financed five projects for Putnam County. In addition to the Tilly Foster Farm Museum, the Spain Cornerstone Park with its conference center; Whipple-Feeley Putnam County Veterans Memorial Chapel; obtaining and lending the portrait of General Israel Putnam for the historic courthouse; and planting the rare Liberty Elms in front of the building to appear as it did in the 1920s. 
 
We are proud of our gifts to the people of Putnam County and invite you to visit and enjoy them. 
 
The Board of Directors of The Society for the Preservation of Putnam County Antiquities and Greenways, Inc. 
Hon. Robert J. Bondi 
Steve Ewing 
Hon. Donald B. Smith 
Edward Cooke 
Robert P. Morini 
Meredith A. Whipple 
George C. Whipple III

The end of a truly great thing.

on Mon, 11/18/2013 - 18:51
On Tuesday night I received an email telling me about how on Wednesday there was going to be an announcement that the farm was going to be turned back over to the county. I was upset like many others to learn this news. After 5 years of running the farm and going through many hard times the Whipple’s decided that it was enough. I have been volunteering my time since the beginning; some of my sheep have called it home. I have organized countless events, lead tours for school children, helped host birthday parties, spent free time there fixing fences and much more. I often while feeding would pick up a lamb and let children pet it. To me the farm became part of my life a place that I liked to come to. My sister and several others had wedding receptions at the farm and I had planned to do the same this coming spring. My animals have had a wonderful home and I enjoyed sharing them with the people.
 
But in the end, the quest of some people to learn all they could and the constant harassment won out and now the future of this farm is up in the air again.
 
I have read many comments on news articles and it amazes me how people are missing the bigger part of this. When the Whipple’s took over the farm there were no animals on the farm, the buildings were in bad shape and so were the fences. Over the five years the most of the fences have been fixed, the building put back in order and if no one noticed one of the first things to be done was three sheds were built. Recently when the sheep barn roof needed work it got fixed. I just read a comment that said fences where in bad shape and there are no horses. It is a working farm fences break and over the summer Meredith and I fixed the one front field. They were in the process of finding a new horse operator after things did not work out with the last one. Meredith arranged for the large front field to be painted and scraped the fence herself. As you drive up in front of the country store the wood had never been painted but this summer Meredith painted it.
 
What happens now? The last event that I will be running will be December 14th the Holiday Craft Fair. I will be removing my sheep some point in the next few months. And to quote Meredith from an email from today “There will no longer be events, no more animals and no more antique equipment.” The people that have enjoyed the farm and everything that it had to offer will lose because of a quest for answers that have left us without a financial backer and no amount of fundraisers will bridge the budget gap. So even though some may think they won and they got rid of the Whipple’s I think it is a great loss to the people of Putnam County. I believed in the farm and everything it stood for and now that it is time to say goodbye I find it truly heartbreaking and angering.
 
Thank you,
Laurel Snook

Thank you to Emily Lavin of Carmel Girl Scout Troop 1566 for helping us leave Tilly Foster Farm even more bright and colorful.

on Wed, 12/18/2013 - 17:46

Built into the hillside at the lower level of the Lodge building, are stalls that have housed the American Blue Rabbits at Tilly Foster. This fall, their home was transformed by the vision and hard work of Emily Lavin. Emily adopted the Farm’s rabbit area as part of her Girl Scout Gold Project, which represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. She built new rabbit hutches and turned the rear grey masonry walls into a colorful backdrop with her painting of multi colored flowers.

“Emily was a truly dedicated volunteer,” stated Meredith Whipple, Executive Director.  “The rabbits were delighted with their new home and we were grateful for the difference she made at Tilly Foster - brightening up a highly visited corner of the Farm.” 

A Big Thank You to Brewster Home Depot Volunteers for painting fences at Tilly Foster Farm

on Mon, 12/02/2013 - 14:34

We at Tilly Foster are very fortunate that so many Home Depot employees came to paint the fences along Route 312.  They painted a half mile of fence! A special thanks goes to Behr Paint and Glidden Paint for the supplies.  

Our thanks go to:

Store Manager, Peter Ruesieki

Assisant Store Manager, Gary Rich

FES, Jackie Laraquente

DEM Ashely Gladish

MEAS Amanda Heinsman

and all the other employees who turned out to help.

 

This event was a "Team Depot Project" where The Home Depot organizes employee volunteers to do charitable things in it's community.

Thank you to Hannaford’s for supporting the animals at Tilly Foster Farm

on Wed, 09/11/2013 - 21:14
The piglets at Tilly Foster Farm enjoy the tasty morsels in their trough. Along with the American Blue Rabbits, Randall Cattle and other rare breeds at the farm, the piglets eat fruits and vegetables courtesy of Hannaford’s of Carmel. The store donates boxes of ripe produce three times a week as part of its mission of giving back to the community.
 
Executive Director Meredith Whipple stated, “Their donation is typical of leftovers that might have come from the average farm table. We are delighted to have Hannaford’s support for our early American farm animals."
 
Tilly Foster Farm welcomes partnerships with local business and community organizations offering opportunities for volunteer projects and corporate philanthropy. Get involved today! Contact maw@tillyfosterfarm.org.
 
Donations are always welcome via paypal! Your contribution supports the preservation of rare and endangered farm animals at Tilly Foster Farm.
 
For more information about Tilly Foster Farm Museum, please use this form to send your inquiries.
 
Please forward correspondence and donations to: Tilly Foster Farm Museum, 12 Main Street, Suite 303, Brewster, NY  10509.