|The green fields and woods of EcoVillage cover clay and fossils left by an inland sea millions of years ago, rock and gravel remaining from a 1-2 mile thick glacier thousands of years ago, and soil disturbed and depleted by many decades of farming in the 1900's.|
From glaciers to human habitation
Around 8,000 B.C., when the glaciers retreated and vegetation returned, nomadic hunters followed herds of mammoth and mastodon into New York state. The earliest paleo-Indian settlement was located at Lake Lamoka, west of Seneca Lake in 3,500 B.C. It wasn't until the 1400's that Native American settlements developed. The closest to EcoVillage land was Coreogonel, a settlement that developed in the 1700's near Buttermilk Falls when the Tutelo arrived and joined with the Cayugas, one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. The closest Indian trail ran from Coreogonel up Bostwick Rd., to Enfield Hill Rd. and around Connecticut Hill to Montour Falls.
From the Tutelos to EcoVillage
The Tutelos and Cayugas were driven from the land and their crops and houses burned in the spring of 1779 by Continental Army soldiers who were instructed to eliminate all those who supported the British in the Revolutionary War. In 1790, Derrick Schulyer was given the 500-acre Military Tract number 57, which included EcoVillage land, for his service in the Continental Army. The first recorded survey seems to be by F. Boyer on August 31, 1844 for Philip C. Schuyler. The land was sold at public auction on November 20, 1890, by executors of the estate of H. Alice Howland on behalf of Norma Harvey who was an infant and heir to the land upon Alice Howland's death. Edward H. Marshall purchased the land for less than $60/acre and it served as a large dairy farm. The Marshalls sold the farm to the Eddy family in the 1960s after which mostly hay, corn, and alfalfa were grown in the fields.
Until the land was sold to EcoVillage in 1992, the only buildings on the land were the original farmhouse and farm buildings, some of which had been used to produce day-old chicks. These buildings eventually became City Lights Antiques which is both a Bed and Breakfast establishment and a local crafts and antiques store.
Now the land includes 60 homes, two Common Houses, carports, a berry farm, a barn on a 10-acre organic farm, and a 55-acre conservation easement with the Finger Lakes Land Trust. About 150 adults and children call the land home and swim in or ice skate(!) on the new pond.
Currently, the Land Partnership Committee, which focuses on land-use, has been working on an up-dated resource inventory of the site. Committee members have been working with local specialists, local college students, and Permaculture Designers to study soil composition, slopes, water flows, distribution of flora and fauna, etc. in order to be able to make informed choices regarding placement of future projects such as orchards and a locust plantation.