Addition to Weir Farm (CT) Completed

Wilton and Ridgefield, Connecticut: Today, the National Park Service and the Trust for Public Land announced the acquisition of 7.5 acres as an addition to the Weir Farm National Historic Site. The inspiration for a generation of American impressionist painters, J. Alden Weir’s historic farm is Connecticut’s only national park. This addition is a key step forward in the plan to expand the Historic Site to create a new museum-quality gallery and visitor’s center that will showcase paintings by Weir and other impressionists who painted at the farm.

“We would like to thank the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation, including Senators Joseph Lieberman and Christopher Dodd and Congressman Jim Maloney, for securing the necessary federal funding for this project. This land would not have been acquired without the $1.25 million Congressional appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” stated Whitney Hatch, New England regional director for the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization.

“I am delighted that I was able to work in Congress on behalf of Weir Farm and the thousands of Connecticut residents and visitors who enjoy this National Historic Site each year,” said Congressman Jim Maloney. “Preserving Weir Farm as an open space and environmental conservation area is essential to maintaining healthy communities and a high quality of life for all residents of the Fifth District, and visitors from around the region. Weir Farm is a treasure that needs to be protected and appreciated for this generation-and for those to come,” said Maloney.

“I am delighted that Weir Farm is now a step closer to being reunited with the rich array of art it has inspired over time,” said Senator Joe Lieberman, who introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate authorizing acquisition of the property. “The visitor’s center, and the art gallery that will be housed inside it, will help preserve the historic character of Weir Farm for generations.”

“Weir Farm was already a wonderful piece of art-but thanks to this addition-it is an even greater masterpiece,” said Senator Christopher Dodd, who cosponsored the Senate legislation. “I commend all of the people at all levels who worked to make this day a reality.”

According to Roy D. Cortez, superintendent of the Weir Farm National Historic Site, “This parcel is an essential piece in pursuing implementation of the Park’s management plan, and we are grateful to the Trust for Public Land for their support in adding it to the Weir Farm Historic Site.”

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who helped add this critical parcel of land to the Weir Farm National Historic Site. It seems especially significant that the addition comes just in time for the Site’s tenth anniversary, this year,” stated Constance Evans, executive director of the Weir Farm Trust, a local nonprofit organization.

J. Alden Weir’s 58-acre farm was subdivided for housing development in the 1980s. Starting in 1988, the Trust for Public Land helped reassemble the original farm property, worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, the Weir Farm Trust, and the state of Connecticut to permanently protect it, and advocated for the farm’s designation as a National Historic Site.

Weir Farm is the only national park dedicated to an American painter. Over a century ago, Weir Farm provided inspiration to J. Alden Weir, renowned as the “father of American Impressionism” and many of his colleagues including Childe Hassam, John Twatchman, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and John Singer Sargent. The National Historic Site contains three historic farmhouses, active art studios, a pond, woodlands, orchards, and original stonewalls.

The Trust for Public Land was founded in 1972 to protect land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Nationwide, the Trust has protected more than 1 million acres, including roughly 1,200 acres of woodlands, farms, parks, and historic landmarks in Connecticut. For more information, call our New Haven office at (203) 777-7367.