Agriculture - Introduction

Agriculture

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Introduction

The land that is now called Montgomery Place has been farmed intensively for more than three hundred years.

This program will explore the agricultural trends at Montgomery Place and in the Hudson Valley, focusing on the period from 1802, when Janet Livingston Montgomery first purchased the property, through the mid-20th century. The substantial financial wealth of the Montgomery, Livingston, and Delafield families who farmed this land placed them somewhat outside the norm (allowing, for example, for greenhouses, ornamental gardens, picturesque landscaping, and recreational features to be included alongside productive farmland). Nevertheless, the agricultural paths followed by the different generations conform to the general course of agricultural history in the Hudson Valley.

During Janet Montgomery's ownership, grain and fruit cultivation prevailed in the valley. During the mid-19th century, grain cultivation had lost its significance in the Hudson Valley due to insect pests and to the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, which allowed access to the fertile grain fields of the west. Hudson Valley farmers like the Livingstons continued the cultivation of fruit but diversified into areas such as wool production. By the turn of the 20th century, dairy had become an important aspect of Hudson Valley agriculture, and the Delafields added commercial milk production to Montgomery Place's farm activities.

The Katzbergs from Montgomery Place, from The Hudson, from the Wilderness to the Sea, by Benson Lossing (1866).

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