From Wile E. Coyote:
Nestled in the northeast corner of Waltham, Mass., and including a small slice of Watertown, the former Arrigo Farm has a centuries-long history and connections, through past owners, to significant American events. The City of Waltham for years has considered acquiring the long-fallow site and returning it to its purpose. After researching this issue online, I've been unable to determine who owns the farm and what might become of it.
As you can see, Arrigo Farm has known better days. The 4.2-acre site is the last farm left in Waltham. Hemmed in to the north by an industrial park and in every other direction by residential streets, the farm began producing before Marie Hedwig Auguste of Sulzbach was even born. Can you imagine?! According to the Waltham City Council's application for funding under the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act, the site "has been continuously farmed since 1650, and perhaps as early as 1635, when, according to oral tradition, Watertown founder, John Warren, purchased the land from the Watertown community."
Warren's son, Daniel, built the first house on the property when he married in 1650, per the Waltham City Council's application. He subsequently fought in King Phillips War. Daniel's great-grandsons fought in the American Revolution, two of them being injured at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The City's CPA application makes many such historic connections to bolster its case for funding to acquire the farm. How many shillings are we talking about? Oh, $3,296,250....
In the first half of the 19th century, a Warren descendant married Capt. Samuel Barnes, who tore down the house and in 1837 built the house that is the main portion of what we see on the property today, per the blah blah blah....This couple's sons fought in the Civil War.
By 1900 the Barnes family had sold off all but 4.217 acres of the farm. I'm not sure how large the property was in the 1600's when John Warren purchased it. The last Barnes descendant died in 1922. The next year, Placido Arrigo bought the farm (literally, not metaphorically) and tilled the soil until his death in 1991!
His son, John, farmed the land until his death in 2011.
(A rough-looking room added on to the original circa-1837 structure.)
(Relax, sign maker. I had no intention of going inside.)
I can't be positive, but I believe I saw signs of occupation here subsequent to 2011. Either way, in 2013 the City of Waltham began the process of trying to acquire the land.
After reviewing documents online detailing the Waltham City Council's decision to enter into negotiations with the Arrigo family to buy the property and return it to farming, I'm unclear on whether a deal was struck, and if so, why nothing has happened at this property, or if not, why the parties couldn't come to terms. At some point, the Waltham Community Preservation Committee recommended using some of the funds to demolish the farm house, which seems to have put a hold on the proceedings as of late 2013.
For a complete history of the property and the negotiations, check out this file.
As always, stay tuned....