NOVELTY, Ohio – Diane (Dee) and William Belew of Auburn Township recently made a life-changing decision to ensure that nothing at all changes in their life.
On their 67-acre farm, known as Messenger Century Farm, the Belews board horses, farm hay, produce maple syrup, cut firewood, hike, fish and hunt. In 1992, the Belews purchased the farm from Lewis and Helen Messenger and knew right away it was worth protecting.
Protecting their farm. Today, having donated a land-protection agreement, known as a conservation easement, to Western Reserve Land Conservancy, they have done just that.
Through a friendship with the Messenger family that began in the 1970s, the Belews enjoyed the farm with their children for decades before owning it.
“We always had a sadness that this wouldn’t go on forever,” Mr. Belew added. “We were approached by developers with big offers but that wasn’t what we wanted to do. Western Reserve Land Conservancy was able to help.
Messenger Century farm is bordered to the south, west, and partially to the north by the State of Ohio Auburn Marsh Wildlife Area.
The property is south of the Marjorie Frohring, Laufer and Furman properties, and northeast of the Cathan property, all of which have been preserved by WRLC.
History. Messenger Farm was established in the 1700s. The Belew’s home was built in 1832. The property contains a 1905 sugar house rebuilt from the 1800s. The original arch built in the 1800s is still being used. It is believed to be the oldest sugar house in Geauga County and the Belews still produce maple syrup there every spring.
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