Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Have you ever wanted to own a horse farm? Charles Birnie did.
In 1889, Charles Birnie bought the old Thomas Hale house (corner Booth Road- later renamed Birnie Road- and Longmeadow St.) and started acquiring thoroughbred race horses and breeding them on his farm in Longmeadow. His 80 acres of land stretched down to the Connecticut River and he pastured his horses on the lowlands where there were fewer rocks, boulders, or ditches that might injure his horses.
The above picture is from an article in the 1894 Springfield Republican about one of his horses, Anteneer. By 1900 he had 4 brood mares, 1 stallion, 6 three-year-olds, 2 two-year-olds, and 4 yearlings on his farm. He also employed a horse trainer, Irving Hinkley, to tend to his horses.
Charles Birnie moved his farm to Virginia in 1901.
Sources: 1900 US Federal Census, Springfield Republican, Dec. 3, 1889; July 1, 1894; Sept. 27, 1901; Oct. 8, 1901; Oct. 22, 1901; Longmeadow Assessors Valuation Listings 1899-1904
Contributed by Elizabeth Hoff, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member
Originally published March 26, 2020