The green fields and woods of EcoVillage cover clay and fossils left by an inland sea millions of years ago, rock and gravel remaining from a 1-2 mile thick glacier thousands of years ago, and soil disturbed and depleted by many decades of farming in the 1900's. Now it contains 60 homes, a Common House, carports, and a barn on a 10 acre organic farm. About 150 adults and children call the land home and swim in the new pond. What happened between the glaciers and the current community?
Around 8,000 B.C., when the glaciers retreated and vegetation returned, nomadic hunters followed herds of mammoth and mastodon into New York state. The earliest paleo-Indian settlement was located at Lake Lamoka, west of Seneca Lake in 3,500 B.C. It wasn't until the 1400's that Native American settlements developed. The closest to EcoVillage land was Coreogonel, a settlement that developed in the 1700's near Buttermilk Falls when the Tutelo arrived and joined with the Cayugas, one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. The closest Indian trail ran from Coreogonel up Bostwick Rd., to Enfield Hill Rd. and around Connecticut Hill to Montour Falls.
The Tutelos and Cayugas were driven from the land and their crops and houses burned in the spring of 1779 by Continental Army soldiers who were instructed to eliminate all those who supported the British in the Revolutionary War. In 1790, Derrick Schulyer was given the 500-acre Military Tract number 57, which included EcoVillage land, for his service in the Continental Army. The first recorded survey seems to be by F. Boyer on August 31, 1844 for Philip C. Schuyler. The land was sold at public auction on November 20, 1890, by executors of the estate of H. Alice Howland on behalf of Norma Harvey who was an infant and heir to the land upon Alice Howland's death. Edward H. Marshall purchased the land for less than $60/acre and it served as a large dairy farm. Until the land was sold to EcoVillage in 1992, hay, corn, and alfalfa were grown in the fields, the farm pond was used for ice-skating in winter and, at one time, muskrats were trapped and sold for their pelts. The only buildings on the land were the original farmhouse and farm buildings, some of which had been used to produce day-old chicks. These buildings eventually became City Lights Antiques which was sold two years ago to form a Bed and Breakfast establishment.
Much has happened to this land in the last decade. Stay in touch to see the development of a U-Pick berry farm, greenhouse to produce vegetable seedlings, bus-stop to encourage mass transit, and completion of the Second Neighborhood and their Common House. And, in the long-term, watch for plans to build a Third Neighborhood and a Sustainability Education Center.