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Dairy Farming in Longmeadow

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Jarius R. Kibbe and oxen of Frank B. Allen. Image courtesy of Stephen Forbes.

Until the turn of the century, most Longmeadow families made a living by farming. Census records show that in 1880 Longmeadow (which at that time included East Longmeadow) had 155 farms and 7,723 acres of improved land. Most farmers raised crops (such as tobacco, corn, and potatoes) and livestock (cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry). Longmeadow had a strong dairy industry. In 1880, we had 719 milch cows which produced 181,739 gallons of milk and 48,545 pounds of butter. In 1896, trolley service began down Longmeadow Street and agricultural land in town began to be sold for residential housing development. Many farms remained as late as 1910 (after the split with East Longmeadow) when we still had 226 cows in town.

1894 Map of Longmeadow

The 1894 map of Longmeadow shows a neighborhood of five farms near the intersection of today’s Longmeadow Street and Maple Road. At the top of the hill on the west side of Longmeadow Street was Hillbrow Farm, a dairy farm which was owned by H. M. Burt.

Hillbrow Farm May 17, 1920. Image from the Pasiello Emerson Collection.

Springfield Republican, June 18, 1905

South of Hillbrow Farm was the farm of Jarius R. Kibbe. The farmhouse, which is today’s 1390 Longmeadow Street, was built by Gaius Bliss in 1789. Gaius was both a farmer and a tanner. After Gaius’s death in 1843, the house and farm were sold several times. Jarius Kibbe bought the farm from Simeon Simons in 1870 and he and his wife, Abigail, and daughter Julia, age 5, moved to Longmeadow. Jarius was a dairy farmer, but he also grew tobacco and potatoes and had 40 apple trees.

Kibbe farmhouse, 1390 Longmeadow Street. Image courtesy of Stephen Forbes.

Jarius R. Kibbe, barn, and farmhouse. Image courtesy of Stephen Forbes.