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Walnut Vale Farm

The Walnut Vale Farm Photo Album Can Be Found HERE

If you travel north from Wallingford on Yale Avenue in Meriden you will see Kogut Nursery on the left side of the street. Just past their office you’ll see an old cow barn made from concrete and a small milk house on the front. That is what is left of the Walnut Vale Farm.

The Walnut Vale farm was run by the Yale family. On the right, where the condos are now, was also a Yale farm- one I knew as Ralph’s. It was actually owned by my Uncle Arthur Yale. It used to extend past where the Wilbur Cross Parkway runs now. When the road was put in, it isolated half the fields and killed it as a working farm.

Uncle Arthur’s house remains. It’s the white one on the right just past the condo driveway.

In the 1960’s when Uncle Arthur died, he left a certain percentage of his estate to the church. The only way to set the value was to auction everything. Family antiques were scooped up by antique dealers and the land by developers. I can remember my father’s sorrow at watching items that had been in the family forever going into the hands of strangers.

By that time my father, Julius Robert Yale, had left the farm. He was able to provide for his family by first by changing fork lift and industrial tires, and later by becoming a teacher. He was the last generation to work the farm- truly the end of an era that had gone on for 300 years. He grew up in the “Meriden House,” which had been built in 1760 by Noah Yale. That house sheltered the family until 2011, when time had set in and repairs and taxes were too much for the residents. No one else in the family had the financial ability to do what was needed, and the house was sold to Kogut Nursery.

The Koguts had bought most of Walnut Vale Farm in the 1960’s from my Grandmother, Amy Peck Yale. Even though I was a young child, I remember the conversations that took place. She held the mortgage and everyone thought it would provide an income and keep her comfortably- as it did. Although the grand-daughter of H. Wales Lines, a former Mayor of Meriden and very successful builder, she had no security other than that income. And of course we all know how financially rewarding dairy farming was in Connecticut- that’s why there are still so many family farms left.

Before my father, his father, David Hobart Yale, Amy’s husband, had run the farm. His father was Julius Hobart Yale, and his father was Julius Wilcox Yale. The online album has all these men in it, as well as their children, spouses, siblings and extended family. The Meriden house provided a focus for the family.

The Yale family had come to the area in 1669, with the first settlers pushing north from New Haven. Indians (or Native Americans) were one of the big problems and the area wasn't entirely safe. At first the area was part of Wallingford. As time passed the town line moved south, and the farm became part of Meriden.

This album has images from the 1890’s through the 1940’s- a half century slice of time. They are not in any particular order. They show the people and part of their lives. There are many more pictures of these people, but this collection is meant to show the farm, and the land, and present a small view of how quickly life changed on one small part of Yale Avenue in Meriden.

Uncle Arthur took many of these pictures, and I think all the color slides were his. Uncle David Lewis Yale, who later became a minister and had churches as far north as Maine, also took some. I am sure that some were taken by my grandmother, also. Sometimes I know who and what the picture shows, some facts are lost to history. I have scanned and retouched many, since the originals, especially the ones from the 1890’s, have faded into almost a sepia tone blur. Thankfully modern technology is much better than my eyes and I was able to get fairly decent images out of most.

I have organized the images by date, but some are wild guesses. For instance I put all my Uncle Arthur's slides as 1960. Hopefully I wasn't too wrong on any, but it does give the viewer an almost chronological order.

If you have any comments or questions, you can email me at

David C. Yale 2012

The Walnut Vale Farm Photo Album Can Be Found HERE