Wethersfield Timeline

Conservation & Garden Timeline

1937 Garden Development

Chauncey D. Stillman visits the area to ride with the Millbrook Hunt and decides to purchase land shortly thereafter.

1937 Conservation

Stillman purchases first parcels of land, two abandoned farms, barren land, and an orchard after riding the lands with the Millbrook Hunt.

1938 Conservation

Working with NYS Conservation Department, Wethersfield begins reforestation efforts.

1939 Garden Development

Architectural Firm LaFarge & Knox complete the design of the Main Residence for Mr. Stillman.

1940 Conservation

Construction on the house is completed. Stillman hires Owen Boyd, a Dust Bowl farmer, to manage the estate and apply his conservation lessons learned.

1940-41 Garden Development

Mr. Stillman hires landscape architect Bryan J Lynch to design and plant the first of Wethersfield’s gardens, beginning with the Inner Garden in the style of the British Arts & Crafts gardens.

1941 Garden Development

Amur maples are planted to form the initial setting of the Pleached Tunnel.

1944 Garden Development

Historical photos reveal the Inner Garden. Mr. Lynch designs a circular lawn, with terraced northern wall. Trained espalier fruit trees line the brick walls. The Grasshopper House is in view, as is a Grape Arbor along the western wall.

Later in the year, due to the ongoing war, the main lawn of the Inner Garden is transformed into a productive Victory Garden for the community.

Southeast circular Lawn framed by stone walls and steps form the original Pine Terrace, along with small Linden trees planted above to form Walk on the upper right.

Victory Garden outside Wethersfield House 1944.

1946 Conservation

Chauncey Stillman joins the Board at the New York Botanical Garden. He served in this capacity through 1969.

1947 Garden Development

Stillman begins working with New York City and Sharon, CT based Landscape Architect Evelyn Poehler to extend and enrich the designed landscape.

1949 Conservation

In the ten years since first planting, the estate integrated strip cropping, contour farming, cover crops, organic fertilizers, windbreak plantings, crop rotations, sustainable logging, runoff ponds and wildlife borders.

1950 Conservation

Mr. Stillman petitions the US Senate to pass the legislation designed to protect the Bald and Golden Eagle.

1951 Conservation

Mr. Stillman works with the head of the National Wildlife Federation to construct wood duck nesting boxes on Wethersfield ponds.


1952 Conservation

United Nations sends a delegation from its 1952 Scientific Conference on Conservation to tour Wethersfield Farm, chosen as a model example of an “excellent conservation farm…[with] a tremendous variety of well-planned and properly applied conservation practices.” 

1952 Garden Development

Knot Garden, Detail Planting Plan – Evelyn Poehler.

1953 Garden Development

Water Plants – Pine Terrace,Evelyn Poehler. Drawing shows plantings, walls, and steps around rectangular pool.

1954-56 Garden Development

The Cutting Garden is designed and constructed to the east of the House.

1955 Garden Development

Poehler designs the oval pool, establishing the major axis for expansion.

1956 Garden Development

Poehler designs the North Alley. The design plan centers the pool at the intersection of a proposed primary east-west axis of the garden.

Evelyn Poeler’s sketch of the North Alley