History of Mountain Meadows
The original owners of the property were the Adams family: Nathan Chauncey Adams and his wife Mary Maria Horton. It was they who built the barn and farmhouse in 1857. Inside the lodge you can see many signs of this early American New England architecture including the fieldstone fireplace and hand-hewn timbers and uprights. Architectural historians will be interested in the attic where the original architecture is clearly visible.
The barn was originally for cows that grazed on pasture which is now underwater (Kent Pond). An 1881 business directory lists Mr. Adams as owning 13 dairy cows and residing on 200 acres. Mr. Adams died in 1886, but left behind a unique legacy – a daily diary of farming life in early America.
Nathan Adams, a grandson of this first Nathan Adams, continues work on family history and is preserving page images from the diary on CDROM.
Upon Nathan Chauncey’s death, Maria (she was known by that name) put the farm up for sale.
By 1901 Eli Blanchard owned the property, and a son of Nathan Adams, Chauncey H. Adams, may have owned it up to 1907 running a sawmill here and later selling it to Ali Boutwell. By 1920, this farm and the surrounding 600 acres was known as Combination Farm and Thundering Brook Road was called Combination Road. W.H. Hulett owned the farm as well as the Combination Cash Store in Rutland and was one of the largest goods suppliers in Vermont at the time.
The farm provided dairy products from the cattle as well as produce from crops grown here, maple sugar and syrup from the maple trees, and other products for the store. By 1932 Howard Townes and his father Andrew had a maple sugar operation here. George Kent owned the property after this and it became known as Kent Farm. Kent Brook and Kent Pond are named for this Kent and this is probably when Thundering Brook Road was (re)named.
The Vermont parks department bought a portion of the land in 1939 which later became Gifford Woods State Park, but as late as 1953 there were probably cattle and some dairy operations still here. A Vermont Life magazine article in the spring of 1959 highlights a small milling operation at Thundering Falls. During this time, the principal route from Woodstock to Rutland was not via US Rt. 4 as we now know it, but via Coffee House Road, then probably up Elbow Road and out through Old Turnpike Rd or Old Coach Road to get to the other side of Pico Mountain. Coffee House road is named for a stopping point for travelers.
In 1959, the Vermont Parks Department purchased much of the rest of the property as part of a program of building fishing ponds in the State of Vermont. In 1965 Kent Brook was dammed to create Kent Pond; the lake was stocked and open for fishing. It was at this time, in 1959, that Merle Schoenfeld bought the property from George Orech, then consisting of about 75 acres.