Sussex County's best kept secret,
neatly tucked away in the hills of
Wantage Township, New Jersey.


Directions to Lusscroft Farm
50 Neilson Rd, Sussex, NJ


                      Artwork "Lusscroft Farm" courtesy of wildlife artist  Carol Decker  Copyright 2010 

Heritage & Agriculture Association

The regular monthly meetings of H&AA
are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month
@ 7:30pm Sussex Wantage Library

Anyone interested in H&AA & the revitalization of 
Lusscroft Farm is welcome to attend.

More information on H&AA

New Members and Volunteers
are always needed and welcome!

 

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The History of Lusscroft Farm

Lusscroft Farm is a one of a kind historic site. This 578 acre property has a rich and diverse past. Between 1914 and 1930, James Turner, a Montclair stockbroker, invested the considerable fortune of $500,000 to make Lusscroft a perfect model of dairy farming, employing the most innovative practices of the time based on scientific research. In 1931, Mr. Turner donated his Lusscroft to the State of New Jersey in order for it to be used as an agricultural research station. Cook College established a forestry program in 1955, and research actively continued until 1970. Rutgers University retained Lusscroft for use as an outdoor education center for the 4-H youth program. The facility closed in 1996 due to declining enrollment and rising maintenance costs.

The State of NJ transferred the administration of Lusscroft from Rutgers University to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (State Park Service) and the State Agricultural Development Committee in January 2002. High Point State Park now administers Lusscroft in cooperation with the State Agriculture Development Committee.

Link to the General Management Plan - PDF file.

 

James and William Turner
James Turner’s Lusscroft
Montclair stockbroker James Turner spent $500,000 between 1914 and 1930 to establish Lusscroft as a model dairy farm, based upon up-todate principles of scientific agriculture. He built his country manorhouse on Neilson Road in 1916, enlarging it in 1928. It overlooks a scenic patchwork of pastures, ponds, woodlots and barnyards, where farm manager Edward Decker once supervised the finest purebred Guernsey herd in the region. In 1930, James Turner had craftsmen salvage antique timbers from twenty-five barns and houses to construct the “Outlook Lodge” atop the ridge for his brother, Dr. William Turner. With a brick inglenook, this Arts-and-Crafts masterpiece of chestnut log construction offers a panoramic view of the Kittatinny Valley and Highlands.

Dairy Research Farm
To promote agricultural research and education, James Turner donated his Lusscroft, Newbegin and Belle Ellen Farms, totaling 1,050 acres in Sussex County, to the State of NJ in 1931. He placed no deed restrictions upon the property, intending that it be used “in every expedient way toward promoting social progress and welfare.” His gift included 250 head of Guernsey and Holstein cattle, horses, tractors, modern dairy buildings, employees’ cottages and a complete line of farm machinery. It was one of the first dairy farms in the United States to be used as a research project. Until its closure in 1970, researchers on these grounds made New Jersey a premier state in the development of grassland farming, grass ensilage, artificial livestock breeding and production testing for a safe healthful milk supply. In 1938, Enos J. Perry used Lusscroft sires in the first experiments with artificial insemination for the improvement of dairy herds in the United States.

Cook College Forestry Program
Cook College established a forestry program in 1955, planting demonstration plots of black locust and Christmas tree varieties and teaching woodlot and fence post management. The Outlook Lodge was a summer dormitory from 1956 until the program ended in 1975.

4-H Youth Center for Outdoor Education
Rutgers University closed its Beemerville research stations in 1970, keeping only 578 acres at Lusscroft for use of the 4-H Youth Center for Outdoor Education. It opened to 900 campers in 1973 and closed in 1996 because of declining enrollment and rising maintenance expenses.

Transfer to the State Park Service
The State of NJ transferred the administration of Lusscroft from Rutgers University to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (State Park Service) and the State Agricultural Development Committee in January 2002. The transfer encompasses 578 acres, including 23 original structures built between 1914 and 1932. High Point State Park now administers Lusscroft in cooperation with the State Agriculture Development Committee.

Basic Facts
• Lusscroft encompasses 577.86 acres in Wantage and Montague Townships, Sussex County, New Jersey. It lies along County Route 519 and Neilson Road, adjacent to High Point State Park and Stokes State Forest.

• Adjacent to Lusscroft, Rutan Hill is geologically significant as one of only two exposures in New Jersey of nepheline syenite, a very rare type of igneous rock. Lusscroft is the only place in New Jersey to see an extinct volcano (440 million years old) and also sedimentary rock that has been thermally altered by baking due to the high temperature of the nepheline syenite intrusion.

• Built as a model dairy farm between 1914 and 1930 and serving as the North Jersey Dairy Branch of the State Agricultural Experiment Station between 1931 and 1970, Lusscroft uniquely preserves two fundamental stages
in the revolutionary advance of scientific agriculture. In August 2000, the State Historic Preservation Office determined (HPO-H2000-71) that “the Experimental Station, including its staff housing, barns and fields, is clearly eligible for listing on the National Register for its association with the development of agricultural techniques, especially the development of artificial insemination.”

• Embracing the headwaters of the West Branch of Papakating Creek, Lusscroft falls within two Natural Heritage Priority Sites: the Wallkill River Macrosite (B4), which contains occurrences of globally rare and endangered animal species; and the Papakating Creek Natural Heritage Site (B3), which contains good occurrences of a globally rare and endangered turtles, threatened animals and endangered plant species.

• Lusscroft presents a unique opportunity to protect and enhance the habitat for grassland-dependent bird species in the Great Limestone Valley, which are declining regionally as well as nationally.


Painting by Louis Larson courtesy of Fred Space

 
 

This website is maintained by:


The Heritage & Agriculture Association Inc.
P.O. Box 7191, Sussex, NJ 07461-7191

In Cooperation with the NJ Division of Parks and Forestry
Division of Parks and Forestry Graphic

webmaster@lusscroftfarm.com