Historic Mechanicsville Farm Preserved

historic-mechanicsville-farmMarch 7, 2014 — One of the most prominently located historic farms in St. Mary’s County, along Three Notch Road in Mechanicsville, has been preserved by Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust. In January, 2014, the Land Trust acquired a perpetual conservation easement on the 147-acre property, which is now owned by three siblings: John W. Roache, MD, Wanda Davina Valiante, and J. Barry Roache.

The farm is comprised of several parcels historically known as the Old Peverley (or Peverly) Farm or The Home Place, and Kelly’s Luck, Fortune or the Combs Place. For over 150 years — before there even was a village of Mechanicsville — travelers on Three Notch Road have passed the distinctive gabled farmhouse surrounded by crop fields. The landmark structure, which dates back as far as 1835, is relatively intact. This weathered tenant farmhouse speaks silently, telling Marek Preserve stories of a farm family’s hard work, dedication to the land, and the joy of growing food for the community: stories that never change, and likely never will.

Now, thanks to the farm’s current owners, the land itself will be perpetually preserved, so that it will forever remain a historic landscape.

“A lot of things came together to create this opportunity. It enabled us to obtain full ownership of the property and to project the farm into the future, and to protect the watershed at the same time. We’re very grateful for the opportunity, quot; commented Barry Roache.

Produce from the Roaches’ farm is sold at Home Grown Farm Market in Lexington Park. Barry Roache is a managing member of the Farm Market Board, and is involved in the County school system’s “Farm to Schoolquot; program, which educates students about local farming and nutrition.

The farm, at the intersection of Three Notch and Flora Corner Roads, is a gateway to the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area, designated by St. Mary’s County in 1998 as a large contiguous tract of important cultural and natural resource lands, with agricultural, forestry and environmental value. The Huntersville RLA extends to the Patuxent River, from Trent Hall Creek to Horse Landing, and comprises 8900 acres, of which more than 3700 acres have been protected. Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust partners with St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners to implement the Rural Legacy Area through various land preservation programs. Purchase of the Roache farm easement was funded with grants from the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission and the Rural Legacy Program of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.

In addition to preserving an agricultural legacy the Roache property easement protects 100 acres of forest. The large contiguous woods protect the headwaters of the Persimmon Creek and are excellent nesting grounds for forest interior dwelling birds that are increasingly vulnerable to loss of habitat.

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