Old Memories of Magnificent Clough Farm
There's 1,000 acres of property in Warren County that has an extremely interesting history. It involves a multi-millionaire, some magnificent farm buildings and a cherished fishing stream. The property no longer looks as it did in its hey-day, but one man is keeping alive all the glorious stories from the past.
It’s the Clough Farm (pronounced CLUFF) located just outside of the community of Spring Creek. The thing that grabs your attention as you approach the old farm is the size of the run down, neglected and vacated barns. You can't help but wonder how magnificent these structures were when they were built in the early 1900s. Thank goodness there are photographs. One barn was built in 1906. Another was built in 1913 as was a milking house. They were built by Levi Clough. He was a timberman who decided to add dairy farming to his business empire.
John Wood is a former caretaker of the property and researched Levi Clough.
"He obviously made a fortune in timber. From the old records that I've researched, I saw different enterprises he had,” says John.
John says Clough chose this particular property for his farm because of the trout stream that runs through it. It was his own private fishing spot. Levi Clough rubbed shoulders with the Vanderbilts. If he wanted something. He got it.
"In 1913, he got enamored with the Ayrshire breed of cattle and went to Scotland and he bought 20 of the best cattle he could buy and one of the best bulls he could find in Scotland and Canada. He brought them here,” says John.
You can still see the names of some of the dairy cows on the walls. One stall was for a cow named 'Lady Jane' in 1917. This once was a beautiful, stately, and unique farm. However, Clough died in 1927. His family leased the farm until 1970 when they sold it to the Carlisle family of the department store fame. John worked as caretaker for the Carlisles until the early 1990s. John says the family just let the barns deteriorate after he left. He gets emotional about the farm’s current condition.
"Well, it's sad,” he says. “It's sad. It's kind of hard for me."
John's love for the old farm is still with him. He can't rebuild its glorious look. He does, however, give lectures about its glorious history.
"When I go back here in the car, my wife says, 'Don't look.' But I do. It's sad, but the story's still there,” he said.
The property is now owned by an organization from Bradford that hosts people for hunting and fishing parties. The farm land is leased out, but the magnificent old barns are not being used and continue to deteriorate.