One of the oldest things in Milwaukee is the giant European copper beech tree in South Shore Park, which was planted in the 1850s. It’s pretty old for something in America that was planted or raised post-colonization.
Over on the East Coast, it’s not too hard to find things that are even older. The Tuttle farm in New Hampshire has been farmed since 1632, which probably makes it a candidate for “oldest thing continually in use.” That’s 378 years of farming on one spot, with eleven generations of the family working the land.
However, in 2010, as suburban sprawl encroached and the intimate demands of the marketplace made it harder and harder to operate a farm, the Tuttles have placed the farm up for sale. According to the Boston Globe, the 134-acre property is listed for $3.35 million. However, the paper also reports that despite being “surrounded by suburban homes and is bordered by a major street, [the farm] is protected by a conservation restriction that prohibits it from being developed after it is sold, and the Tuttles hold out hope that the new owners will maintain it as a working farm.”
While a part of me would like a farm, in the abstract, mind you, I don’t have that kind of cash on hand. But I hope that it can be made into another good farm rather than it becoming Yet Another Subdivision. God knows we’ve got quite enough of those.