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Peconic Land Trust to relocate Case House in Southold, use it as training center for farmers

The Farms for the Future Initiative teaches veteran and novice farmers how to explore and use conservation tools and techniques designed to make their farms more sustainable and affordable.

Dan Heston, senior manager of agricultural programs for

Dan Heston, senior manager of agricultural programs for the Peconic Land Trust left, and Molly Sanford, project manager, in front of the historic Lieutenant Moses Case House in Southold on Friday. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

A history-rich Southold home that belonged to an American Revolutionary War veteran will not only be preserved, it will be relocated and used as part of a program to help better train local farmers.

Southampton-based nonprofit Peconic Land Trust is expected next month to move the Lt. Moses Case House from its location on County Road 48 to the corner of Horton’s Lane and County Road 48, or Cleo’s Corner, as it’s locally referred to. The site is owned by the nonprofit.

“Because this project is a combination of farmland conservation and historic preservation, both part of our mission, it is a unique model of how the past and present cannot only coexist but also sustain one another,” said John v.H. Halsey, the land trust’s president.

The home, built in 1747, once belonged to Moses Luther Case, a lieutenant in the Southold militia during the American Revolution who is generally known as a patriot of the revolution.

Holly Sanford, the land trust’s project manager, said the “architectural and structural importance” of the home, as well as Case’s ties to local history, were among the reasons the nonprofit wanted to preserve the property.

“The house and the man are both strongly tied to the history of Southold,” Sanford said.

Through the years, according to town records, the double-cape Colonial-era structure has been owned by several prominent North Fork families — including the Goodale, Terry, Appley and King families — and has been located in three communities within Southold through the years, most notably in Peconic on Main Road, or Route 25, where town meetings were held.

When the land trust acquired the Cleo’s Corner property, a life estate was held on the parcel by Cleo Sellers, a Southold resident who died in January 2016 at the age of 73. Sellers’ house had fallen into disrepair, and land trust officials determined the most appropriate course was to replace the house with a suitable structure, and Southold Town officials later approved the relocation.

After its relocation and restoration — the latter of which is expected to be completed around 2020 — the home will eventually be integrated into the trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative.

The effort, launched in 2008, teaches veteran and novice Long Island farmers how to explore and use conservation tools and techniques designed to make their farms more sustainable and affordable. Participating farmers practice such techniques on the nearly 100 acres of productive farmland at the Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm on Youngs Avenue.

The home will be less than a mile from the center and will house farmers enrolled in the program or farmhands that assist them, said Dan Heston, the trust’s senior manager for agricultural programs.

The restoration project is expected to cost about $500,000 and will be funded by grants and private donations, said Yvette DeBow Salsedo, the nonprofit’s vice president.

Despite the age of the home, Heston said it is “in amazingly good shape,” which would make restoring the home easier. “It’s like finding a [Ford] Model-T in a garage that hasn’t been touched,” added Heston, who will handle the restoration.

A Southold gem

The restoration of the Lt. Moses Case House, built in 1747, will re-establish a farmstead in the building area on the protected 5 acres of fertile farmland along Cleo’s Corner. Some more details:

  • The Cleo’s Corner property, where the Case house will be relocated to, was donated to the Peconic Land Trust in 2011 by Anne and Tom Hubbard as part of three parcels that included the house lot and two open farm fields, totaling 5.7 acres.
  • Renovation on the inside will also be done to provide for functional living space.
  • The Peconic Land Trust is assembling a historic restoration team for the planning and execution of the exterior and interior restoration of the home, which will bring back the original architectural beauty of the structure and highlight the history of its original owner.

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