An Old Farmhouse Gets a Fresh Start PDF Print E-mail

In a time when consumers have started to become more environmentally responsible and think in terms of recycling and reusing, at least one home in Pike County evokes an era when people thought that way out of necessity and frugality.  Currently a llama farm, Foster Hill Farm in Milford Township was established in the 19th century and has undergone several interesting transitions.

In the late 1800s, a New York banker purchased it and built an addition that became, and still is, the main house.  Around 1906 Anthony Stumpf bought the property for operation as a dairy farm.  His grandson, Julio Santos, grew up to be a decorative painter, and he also did salvage work for New Yorkers who were replacing 19th-century architectural elements from their homes with 20th –century modernities.  Santos brought back old windows, woodwork and interior columns from these renovation projects and used them in the farmhouse, where they remain today.Stumpf and Family

 When the Santos family tore down the original part of the house in the 1920s, they recycled its lumber.  What was not sold was used to rebuild the small entrance and mudroom off the kitchen that is still in use.

 In 1985 Richard Snyder (a co-owner of Pike Media Partners, the company that publishes this magazine) purchased the farm.  “I didn’t do much with the house then,” he recalls.  “Basically, I camped here for ten years.”

 When a contractor advised Snyder to replace the old bank barn with a new building, Snyder responded, “I don’t want a new one.  I liked this one.”  He saved the barn’s classic exterior by building a new support system within it.  Snyder retained some of the original beams even if they are no longer structurally necessary, to preserve the character of a long-ago era.

oldfarmhouse_1Last summer Snyder removed the vinyl siding and shutters that had been added in the 1960s and restored the original wood siding.  Then he had workable shutters installed over the new storm windows that protect the original windows.  In late morning Snyder closes the shutters to prevent the hard afternoon sun from heating up the house.  Later in the afternoon, he reopens them to enable early evening breezes to flow through the house.  He also replaced the failing porch with one that looks like the porch on the original farmhouse, and he had it covered with an old-style turned-tin roof.

Honoring yet another tradition, Snyder’s gardener adds dung generated by his llamas to a compost pile for use in the farm’s organic garden (which also helps supply the Hotel Fauchere, of which Snyder is a co-owner).  Most recently, Snyder put in a gravity water collection system that collects runoff, diverting it to a 1,500 gallon underground cistern that can provide irrigation for the garden and fruit orchard.  It serves as one more reminder of how old ways of conserving resources make good sense today.


(Originally published March 2007)