Himes urges making Weir Farm a national park

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, testified Wednesday, July 15, on behalf of a bill he introduced that would elevate the status of Weir Farm from a national historic site to a national park. Himes appeared virtually before the Natural Resources Committee’s National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee. His testimony may be seen on his Facebook page.

Its current status as a national historic site “does not capture the complexity and full scope of the site.”

Weir Farm was the home of American Impressionistic painter Julian Alden Weir and is just one of two national sites dedicated to the arts. Himes said designation as a site generally indicates a single building or historic location, but that Weir Farm is much more.

The farm encompasses nearly 70 acres and is home more than 250 historic painting sites as well as 16 historic buildings, a “vast collection” of American art, orchards, landscapes, trails, gardens, miles of stone walls, he said. Along with Weir, the property has inspired generations of artists, most notably Mahonri Young and Charles Sperry Andrews.

A part of the Northeast Temperate Network, a team at the farm monitors and shares information about the area’s climate, water quality and forest health with other parts of the region.

He also discussed programs the farm offers to young people in the 4th District, and the artist-in-residence program.

The park is also now represented on the U.S. Mint’s latest America the Beautiful quarter.

“The redesignation would improve recognition of the site, potentially bring in more visitors and communicate much more clearly to the public what this property is,” Himes said.

Weir Farm is at 735 Nod Hill Road in Wilton. Information: nps.gov/wefa.