In Rochester, we are lucky to live in a town with many scenic vistas including ponds, bogs, and woodlands. These vistas also include meadows, though many have disappeared as farming has waned. As one enters Rochester from Marion on Route 105, the 1,000-foot frontage of 60 acres of meadow and farmland is an important part of the town’s landscape. While a variety of people have hayed the field, including Raymond White, who grew hay there in the ‘50s to feed his White’s Dairy cows, there was once another use made of this land.
Henry T. Olden had a seaplane business located in Fairhaven in the 1930s. After the Hurricane of 1938 destroyed the site, he relocated to the land along 105 in Rochester. Here, he built a hangar and a grass airstrip. Olden’s clientele were mostly people who wanted to fly to the Cape and the Islands. However, Olden would give local families and kids rides for $1. The company, Cape Cod Airlines, Inc., also included a flight school and operated from 1939 to 1942. Because of WWII, the government shut down all airfields within eight miles of the coast in the early 1940s.
Over the ensuing years, various attempts have been made to preserve these acres as a farm and meadow. Protecting this area also protects Doggett Brook at the rear of the property, and an extension of the Buzzards Bay watershed. Fortunately for both present and future generations, the Rochester Land Trust, in conjunction with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, is working together to protect the land. The Land Trust is collecting funds to help them reach this goal, and donations may be made at the Land Trust website.
By Connie Eshbach