Sarah's Path

History

Restoration Plans

 

History

Sarah’s Path was named in honor of Sarah Farnham, who was the wife of Edward Farnham. Sarah was born in 1843; and she and Edward married sometime in the mid-1860s. They moved to Prudence Island shortly after Edward and his father, Welcome Farnham, purchased the farm from Elizabeth Dennis in 1869. Sarah and Edward had three children, Rosiland, Harold, and also Ralph, who was the father of Todd and Harris Farnham.


Sarah Farnham had a lifelong interest in nature, especially flowering plants and trees. During the 1890s, the farmhouse was expanded with the addition of a three-story west wing. At that time, the Farnhams planned to open the farmhouse as a bed and breakfast, or inn, as other island farmers had done, to accommodate visitors to the island. The property underwent other improvements at the time, including Sarah’s Path. The path was created over time, from 1896 to about 1907, and was designed to connect the north orchard with the south orchard and other fields; and to provide a pleasant stroll for farm guests. The path was lined with trees, shrubs and flowering plants that were popular in the Victorian Era. But Sarah’s Path was never finished, as the Farnhams left the island sometime shortly after the death of Edward Farnham in 1907. They moved from Prudence Island to Cuba, where they managed a sugar plantation for a number of years, and the farm at Prudence was rented to a family named Hull from Jamestown.


Now, all that remains of the path are two rows of trees, primarily Norway and Sycamore Maples, but also including Black Locust and at least one Catalpa.

 
 

The Restoration of Sarah’s Path

In 2003, Prudence Conservancy started a project to Restore an area of Farnham Farm known as Sarah’s Path. The Path was originally established in the 1900s by Sarah Farnham. It was planned as a nature path to connect the north and south orchards and provide a pleasant stroll for guests and visitors.
The restoration of the path was planned as a memorial for Margaret Beck, who had a passion for gardening and had spoken about a vision of hers to restore this path. Her vision was to plant flowers and trees, and restore it as a quiet, natural place for Prudence Islanders to visit and enjoy.


A restoration plan was developed in 2003, a survey of existing trees was completed, and research was done to identify trees and flowering plants that were common around 1900. It was planned also, that the path, when restored, would serve as a memorial path for others, as well. A Gazebo was erected in Margaret’s memory at the western edge of the path, but it has never been finished.

In 2006 the Prudence Island Historical & Preservation Society partnered with the Farnham Farm Trustees to built a brick path under the gazebo. Bricks can be purchased using the order form available at this website. Click here for Brick Order Form.

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