Robert Frost Farm

Tour curated by: Katie Looney

While nature factored into many of his own poems, American poet Robert Frost, hardly considered himself to be a country man. Frost originally came from the urban settings of San Francisco. In a letter to his granddaughter on his experience farming, he remarked upon the discouragements of farming life. Yet, his still used his time in rural Derry, NH remained a significant sources for his poetic mythos.

Frost spent much of his adult life in rural New England. He lived for forty years in Vermont, and twenty in Massachusetts. He only spent nine years (1900 to 1909) on the Derry farm that was given to him by his grandfather, where he raised chickens and sold their eggs. In 1906, Frost fell ill with pneumonia from which his doctor assumed he would not recover. After this fight for life, Frost discovered his passion to pursue poetry. Frost sold his neglected farm in 1911 for two-thirds the initial purchase price, and moved his family to England in 1912, taking his collections of poems written from his stay on the Derry farm. There, he published his first book of lyrics.

In the following thirty years, the farm passed through several owners. At some point in the 1940s, it was converted into a graveyard for junk automobiles. Frost later returned and found the farmland and its surrounding natural beauty decimated. Although Frost had ambitions to restore the land to its former natural haven, he ultimately failed. However, in 1964, the farmland was saved through a purchase made by the State of New Hampshire and a restoration team that consisted of trustees and state officials which were aided by Lesley Frost Ballantine, Frost’s eldest daughter. Now, after over ten years of research and restoration, the farmhouse and surrounding land is preserved as part of the New Hampshire Historic Sites and named a historical landmark of national significance on the National Registry.

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