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Uplands Farm Legacy
by Jane Sherwin
May 1, 2006
Jane Sherwin, a resident of Belmont for 26 years, is an historian and a writer who started The Farm Where You Live project in 2005, to explore and publicize Belmont’s remarkable farming history. The project is sponsored by the Belmont Historical Society and is funded by the Belmont Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.
Belmont’s Uplands are part of a farming legacy that goes back to 1633, when King Charles I granted land to Abraham Hill. In 1845, Amos Hill gave his daughter and her new husband, Warren Heustis, property on the Uplands. This farm became one of Belmont's most successful economic enterprises until its sale in 1948. The Heustis family were leaders and innovators in regional agriculture. The Heustis farm on the Uplands included the largest fancy pig farm in the region.
Lydia Ogilby of Belmont, a descendent of the Hill family, has given another portion of the Hill land in perpetuity to the town of Belmont. This is the Sergi Farms on Glenn Road, across from Fresh Pond in Cambridge, which continues as a successful small vegetable and flower farm today, named after the present Sicilian Farm Manager, who continues to serve Belmont and other town and city residents, delicious white corn, tomatoes, cukes, squash, zucchini, and a host of other organically grown vegetables and herbs.
Sergi applied to buy the Uplands for a celery farm, a vegetable perfect for a flood plain, and was turned down by the town officials. This year, 2006, sustainable practices will be implemented with added staff.
Today the Uplands functions perfectly as a small river floodplain forest.
#88 and #85 Hill Road, Belmont, taken from the present day Hill Estates and looking toward Arlington
[R. Betts, BHS newsletter March 1993]