Greenwich Land Trust acquires historic gem

The town is in now possession of a piece of property that’s being called a century-old historic treasure thanks to the Greenwich Land Trust and landowner Louise Mueller.

Ms. Mueller donated the four-acre piece of property, located at the corner of Round Hill and Old Mill roads, early last month after nearly a year of discussions with the Land Trust, according to Ginny Gwynn, executive director of the organization.

The property, which is adjacent to the Round Hill Volunteer Fire Department, is a piece of what was formerly one of the town’s Great Estates — a 90-acre premises known as “The Orchards.”

While the majority of the estate was subdivided in the 1970s and has since been developed, Ms. Mueller’s portion of the land remains virtually untouched since the construction of its farmhouse and accessory buildings, which were erected between 1910 and 1915.

The four-acre property is home to several buildings, sugar maple and black walnut trees dating to the establishment of the estate, a number of gardens, orchards and meadows, as well as wooded areas that serve as wildlife habitats for many small animals, Ms. Gwynn explained. Additionally, there are “beautiful old historic stone walls” that can be found near the driveway access and along the perimeter of the property, she added.

Land Trust members have been busy researching the property with the help of the town’s historical society, but there is still plenty to learn, Ms. Gwynn said. Thus far, trust members have discovered, among several barns on the premises, one barn used to house chickens and another used as an ice house. The remains of a stone greenhouse can also be found.

The maintenance of these original buildings can be attributed to Ms. Mueller, who had a vision of preserving the history of the property throughout her 25-year ownership of it, Ms. Gwynn explained. In fact, Ms. Muller’s year-long discussions with the Land Trust were the result of her desire to donate the property to an organization that would truly conserve it, she said.

Ms. Mueller “is a really amazing woman who’s very, very generous” and eventually concluded that the Land Trust was the only town organization that “could and would really protect” her property, Ms. Gwynn added.

“I have always loved this land and knew that some day I would plan for its permanent protection. The Greenwich Land Trust is the only organization in town capable of honoring my wishes for this property,” Ms. Mueller said in a Land Trust press release. “My intent was to protect this beautiful spot at the corner of Old Mill and Round Hill roads so that the Greenwich community would always be able to see and experience the way life used to be in Greenwich a hundred years ago.”

Although the Land Trust acquires undeveloped property the majority of the time, the historic value of the buildings and other assets on the old estate made Ms. Muller’s property impossible to pass up, Ms. Gwynn said. Indeed, the entire corner of town in which the property is located is a larger historical area in which a 100-year-old general store and several homes of the same era remain, she explained.

The acquisition of Ms. Mueller’s property, which will soon be known as the Louise Mueller Preserve, is now part of 737 acres protected by the Greenwich Land Trust.

“The Land Trust is just thrilled with the opportunity that Mrs. Mueller gave us to protect this really historic corner … from the trees and the stone walls to the historic buildings we’re just really excited,” Ms. Gwynn said.

 

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