The land that makes up the current Wilhelm Farm was cleared beginning in the late1600s or early 1700s. Granby was called Salmon Brook then and it was a part of Simsbury. The first settlers congregated around what is now West Granby where they tapped the West Branch of Salmon Brook for water power for milling and a tannery. It was a western outpost that was first established as a fort to protect Windsor against Native Americans who lived in western Connecticut.
A timeline for Wilhelm Farm:
~1830 – Farm house built by North Granby Road
~1860 – Farm house moved up hill & barns built
1936 – Oscar & Marie Wilhelm buy farm
1936-40 – Oscar & sons plant white pine & fence pastures
1936-90 – Subsistence farm operation: family vegetables, milk, eggs and meat with some sales
1954 – Wilhelm Farm one of first 10 Tree Farms in CT
1962 – Fred & Edith Wilhelm acquire farm
1962-2000 – Firewood cut for forest stand improvement
1990 – Ann opens Farm Stand; begins management of vegetable production
1992 – Conservation easement donated to local land trust by Fred and Edith
1994 – First formal forest stewardship plan written
1997 – First timber harvest, including planted white pines and natural red oak on back unit
2003 – Ann & Bill purchase farm & forest from Fred & Edith; forest stewardship plan updated
2007 – Second timber harvest in white pine unit, including some hardwoods
2013 –NRCS Conservation Action Plan (Forest Stewardship Plan) written by Ian Branson
2013 – Timber sale prepared and offered by Branson; sale awarded to Cersosimo Lumber Co.
2014 – Timber harvested by Downey & Sons for Cersosimo
2017 – Sven Pihl lease begins; vegetable production & farmstand reopen; other new enterprises
2017 – Begin NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant & Demo Farm
Wilhelm Farm is typical of many small farm and forest ownerships in southern New England. It was a subsistence farm over most of its history, with a focus on family food production. Unlike most, however, the Wilhelms focused effort over the past 80 years on managing the woods for firewood, timber and wildlife habitat. The farm is located in North Granby (part of the Town of Granby) in north central Connecticut, The farm is 45.6 acres with soils from glacial till, basaltic outcrops, and the Berkshire granitic uplift.
The broad land uses by acreage are: