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oleyhillsalive.org

Text by Ingrid Morning.

A Promise Kept.

When Lawrence Machmer died in 1979, one of the farms was sold by his estate at auction. The deed conveying that farm to the buyer contained the same restriction as the one in Mr Machmer's will. The other farm passed to his life partner, Elva Hunter, and her daughter, Lorraine Hunter, both of whom continued to live there.

Lawrence Machmer was an early conservationist. At a time when the conservation easement was not generally used as a tool for land protection, he wanted to make certain that the two adjoining farms he owned in Rockland Township would never be subdivided after his death. So he wrote a provision into his will that stipulated that the farms,"Shall be sold...for farming and not be subdivided into lots for building."

Lorraine Hunter's Farm

A Promise Kept.

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Skunk cabbage emerging.

Thirty years after Lawrence Machmer's death, the farm that had been conveyed from his estate at auction was sold to a developer. The developer proposed subdividing the property into numerous building lots in contravention of the express terms of the deed and will.

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Fortunately, as a promise she had made to Mr. Machmer, Lorraine Hunter was determined to uphold his wishes. She instituted a lengthy and costly legal proceeding to enforce the language in the deed and the will. Eventually the lawsuit was settled. The property was sold to a local farmer subject to a conservation easement that prevented its subdivision.

One of several springs on the Hunter  farm.

Lorraine Hunter then placed a conservation easement on her own farm, the one she and her mother had inherited from Mr. Machmer. Lorraine continues to reside on that farm. Now, thanks to her courage, dedication and foresight, Mr. Machmer's wishes will at last be fulfilled. Both of his farms, totaling close to 150 acres, will now be protected in perpetuity.

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A field on  the adjoining conserved Machmer farm.

Old trees like this one provide wildlife habitat on the Hunter  farm.

This field is part of a neighbors farm that was conserved as a result of what was done on the two Machmer farms.