My Town’s Farming History

Washington Township started off as a simple farming community. There were only a few families present in the early beginnings, but by 1850 the township had 119 farms and that number grew even larger to 196 farms by 1874. The land in Washington was very flat, and the soil was rich with nutrition for the plants, this made farming very successful. People came from all over, but there was a significant amount from New York.

Another huge component of the farming industry at this time was the beautiful orchards within Washington, and today there are still four main orchards in my town, Bowerman’s Orchard, Miller’s Big Red Apple Orchard, Westview Orchards, and Verellen’s Orchards.  Times have change significantly though, for example, the old villages of Mt. Vernon and Clifton, were once thriving, and today they are considered “Ghost Towns”.  But these villages are not the only landscape that has changed, the areas that once were major farmland, are now subdivisions and shopping plazas. Even the field behind my subdivision turned into an over-sized Meijer Shopping Center.

Westview Orchards Celebrating 2 Centuries