This is, quite literally, the view across the road from where I live. It is so wholly Americana, surrounded as it is by enormous fields and accessed by a lane at least 100 yards long, that it’s difficult to imagine that its up for sale for commercial development. Directly across the road from the farm (right beside my position as I photographed this) is one of the few remaining Toll Houses from the old Woodville Turnpike, which may date to 1849, give or take. The precursor to the turnpike was first hacked out of the wilderness in the late 1700’s as a migration route for settlers, and followed a portion of the Monocacy Road, which in turn was part of the Great Warpath Road of the Iroquois Confederation. Frederick has some serious history.
Most nights, the sun drops behind the Catoctin Range you see there in the distance and can light up the sky as it glows from behind the ridge. What must the earliest residents have felt about living here on the Woodville Turnpike? It’s my sincere hope that, not only does this farm survive the coming changes as urban sprawl continues, but that we can learn to re-use the land we’ve already developed and cast aside.
Look at the amount of land already in use in our cities. As their centers decline, what if, rather than continuing to destroy ever more arable lands, we reinvested in the cities, making them new again? As our population grows, our children may come to need land like the farm pictured here to keep up with the mouths we need to feed. Let’s not bury that ability in asphalt.