Tilly Foster Conservation Area

off Route 312, Southeast, Putnam County, New York

199 acres (hoping to expand to 700 acres)


Tilly Foster (1793-1842) had a farm on which the Tilly Foster Iron Mine was located and for whom the mine was named.

1810  -- the mine that was later called Tilly Foster opened. 

1830  --  Tillingham (Tilly) Foster purchased the mine property from James Townsend.  (The Tilly Foster mine was on the northeast side of the upper part of the Middle Branch Reservoir. From downtown Brewster, take Rt. 6 heading west and turn left onto Tilly Foster Road. Then turn left at Old Mine Road. Then follow Mine Lane left and on the left off the road is a huge opening in the ground that is filled with water. You cannot visit the place because it is on private property. You can see the remains of a mount for one of the derricks still standing.)

1830  --  Tilly Foster purchased a farm on the road to Carmel.

1864 --  when John Cheever bought the mine for $500,000 large scale production began.

1897  --  Tilly Foster mine closes.

1943  --  Tilly Foster Farm was acquired by Mr. E. Benedict, a New York businessman. The dairy farm had 75 head of cattle, producing 8 to 10 cans of milk daily.

Tilly Foster Farm was a horse-breeding farm. According to the memories of Alyna S. the Farm was once was one of the leading thoroughbred farms in New York State. It produced such champion horses as 1969's Silent Scream and 1997 DelMar Derby Winner, Anet. (Source: http://www.southeastmuseum.org/Place/Our_Memories/our_memories.html)

2002 (October) --  Putnam County purchased the Farm for $3.9 million from NYC DEP funds to protect water supplies, in this case the Middle Branch Reservoir, part of NYCís Croton Reservoir system. The farm is only part of a larger acquisition being planned to create the Tilly Foster Conservation area in the town of Southeast.  A local developer, Alan Getzoff of Tenth Jam Development LLC, said his firm was willing to convey 135 acres situated between Simpson Road and Tilly Foster Farm in the town of Southeast to the County. The property is part of the 700 acres of planned open-space acquisitions that would comprise the Tilly Foster Conservation Area.

The Farm is still a working farm, a horse-board farm in fact.

late 2002  --  The County had closed on three of the twelve parcels for the future Conservation Area.

The Farm had been targeted for 600 condominiums; the deal was negotiated by Trust for Public Land (TPL).

2003 (July) --  negotiations by the County to purchase a 135 acre parcel along John Simpson Rd. in Southeast.

February 12, 2004 --  Putnam County legislator Dan Birmingham announced that at a meeting of the Legislature's Land Acquisition Committee, he submitted a resolution to designate the recently-acquired Tilly Foster Conservation Area as Parkland.

(Source: The Highlands Coalitionís quarterly newsletter "High Grounds" Winter 2002 published by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC); http://www.highlandscoalition.org/highground.htm)

Maria Theodore Leiter. November 27, 2002. "Take-Over of Tilly Foster Farm Puts County in Farm Business Legislators annoyed at lack of plan for horse farm."  http://www.pcnr.com/News/2002/1127/Front_Page/050.html)