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Day Camp renamed

December 29, 2014

The Walpole Sewer and Water Commission voted this month to rename the now town-owned Sharon Country Day Camp, on Common Street, in honor of the Jarvis family, which once farmed the land that the camp occupies.

The camp will now be called Jarvis Farm.

Commission Chairman John M. Spillane’s mother was a member of the Jarvis family. Commissioner Spillane’s grandfather, William Jarvis, farmed the property, which at the time occupied a vast expanse of land in both Sharon and Walpole, on both sides of Common Street and Old Post Road. Significant portions of the former farm have long since been sold off to private developers and are taken up by many houses, Mick Morgan’s Restaurant, the Econo Lodge, the Brookline Moving Company, and other businesses. The camp property is the only part of the original farm that remains undeveloped.

The re-naming of the camp was not listed on the Commission’s agenda for the Dec. 15 meeting. Apparently the Commission voted under the “New Business” agenda item to rename the camp. No public input occurred and many town officials appeared surprised by the move.

Town Meeting voted in October to purchase the land with about $4.5 million in funds provided through an increase in town water bills. The camp was ostensibly purchased to protect the town’s aquifer from over-development, as the camp’s owners would have sold the 24-acre parcel to a housing developer if the town had not purchased it. One of the town’s critical wells is located near the camp.

The purchase was consummated in late November, and the land is now in the possession of the town.

The Sewer and Water Commission essentially controls the land, and has yet to develop specific policies for its use and oversight. No specific uses for the site have been proposed yet. For the time being, the Commission is overseeing the site’s maintenance.

Property records indicate that the Jarvis family owned the farm from about 1920 until around 1960. Sharon Country Day Camp started in 1963 there soon after the Hershman family purchased it.

Prior to being owned by the Jarvis family, the farm was owned by the Guild Family, and was known as Guild Farm. It appears that the Guild family occupied the site going back to the 1700s. The Guild Cemetery, which today is located on Old Post Road near the former Day Camp, was the family’s burial plot, now town-owned. It was unclear as of press time why the Commission chose to name the site after the Jarvis family, instead of the Guild family, which seemed to have a longer-lasting presence on the property.

As far as the town naming large parcels of recreation land, the only other recent example was set by Adams Farm in North Walpole. When that property was purchased by the town in 1997, it was part of land owned by the Isaacs family. The site known as the farm today was named after Helen Adams Isaacs, mother of Kenneth C.A. Isaacs, who owned the farm before the town purchased it. Various members of the Adams family also owned land in Medfield near Adams Farm. That name appears to have preceded the town’s purchase of the site, so the town never formally named it.

A hand-drawn map, made by the Jarvis family, of the former Jarvis Farm (now the Sharon Country Day Camp property) and surrounding neighborhood on Common Street in Walpole. (Courtesy: Walpole Historical Society.)

A hand-drawn map, made by a member of the Jarvis family, of the former Jarvis Farm (now the Sharon Country Day Camp property) and surrounding neighborhood on Common Street in Walpole. The site of the current Econo Lodge and Mick Morgan’s is at the top of the map. (Courtesy: Walpole Historical Society.)

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