Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site celebrates one of America's greatest sculptors, but that didn't stop the National Park Service from accepting the donation of a nearly 43-acre farm to the site.
The 42.6-acre Blow-Me-Down Farm includes nine historic structures, agricultural fields and more than quarter-mile frontage along the Connecticut River. It was donated to the Park Service by the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial, the historic site's non-profit partner.
“The Blow-Me-Down Farm is an outstanding historic resource and an important piece in the history of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s association with the town of Cornish and the Cornish Colony of artists,” said park Superintendent Rick Kendall. “We are very appreciative of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial’s foresight in preserving this property and we graciously accept their donation of the farm for inclusion in Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.”
"On behalf of all of the Trustees of the Memorial, I want to express our delight that this historic property is becoming part of the national historic site," said Byron Bell, president of the memorial. "It will be largely preserved but also make possible creative new programs that will further illustrate and interpret the life and work of Saint-Gaudens and fellow members of the Cornish Colony."
Blow-Me-Down Farm was the home of the Charles C. Beaman family. Mr. Beaman, a New York City lawyer and friend of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, attracted Saint-Gaudens to Cornish, New Hampshire, with the promise that the area held many “Lincoln-shaped men” for the sculptor to model.
Mr. Saint-Gaudens and his wife, Augusta, moved to Cornish and rented the property that we today know as Aspet from Mr. Beaman before deciding to stay permanently. The presence of Saint-Gaudens attracted other artists, writers and musicians to Cornish to create what is now known as the Cornish Colony. The Blow-Me-Down Farm was a hub of the Cornish Colony’s social activities.
Blow-Me-Down Farm was acquired by the Saint-Gaudens Memorial in 1998 through the generous donation of acquisition funds by Eric Lagercrantz in behalf of his late wife Mary Beaman Lagercrantz. Mrs. Lagercrantz was Charles Beaman’s grandaughter.
It has been the intent of the Memorial to transfer the property to the care of the National Park Service. The Memorial and the National Park Service have worked closely with the town of Cornish in arranging for the subdivision of the original 47.8-acre property into the 42.6 acres to be donated to the National Park Service and an additional 5.2-acre property. The Memorial intends to sell the 5-acre property as a residential building site that will continue to contribute to the Cornish tax rolls.
The farm will be open to the public when the Memorial and the Site commemorate the transfer of the farm and celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Cornish Colony this summer. Information on this event will be forthcoming. The farm will also be open for tours on selected dates later this summer.