Thursday, December 3, 2015

Toward the end -- Part 7

Carl and Ruth Huber
It's not clear when and how the competing relocation associations emerged but by September 1965, the association planning to build a town on Luke-Naylor-Butcher land had begun to lose traction.

According to a Richmond newspaper report at that time, the Fairfield Redevelopment Corp. had been founded with Ambrose Banning, Kathryn Bosse and Alice Snider as its chief officers. The names would be recognizable to any Fairfielder.

According to the Palladium-Item report:

"The organization, which recently filed articles of incorporation, will take options on real estate to provide homes for Fairfield residents and 'other facilities necessary for community living.'"

The project was much more complicated than that and it's apparent from history that the best-laid plans are mostly chewed up by the mice.

The New Fairfield that Banning envisioned was atop a hill just southeast of the town, on 200 acres owned by Carl Huber and Herschel Klein. Access was up a long winding gravel road off of old State Highway 101. It was a farm, not a town. Options on that land were signed in early October 1965.

That same week, work began on the outlet works for the dam just north of Brookville.

Moving from Fairfield was no longer an option.

The Redevelopment Association did, however, have local support. Such names as Wendel Luker, Edgar Schwegmann, Bob Bowers, Al Hansford, Raymond Day, Carl Bockover, Herbert Jinks, Lucille Shepler were included.


"The Fairfield Relocation Association, an organization with similar aims, was set up some time ago. Its present status was not immediately clear Wednesday night." (Its main members were Leroy Stevens and Bob Chapman.)

Relocation talk had begun as early as 1963, though direction was difficult since virtually none of the actual funding for the reservoir had been approved by Congress. At the time, only a minority of residents actually believed the dam would be constructed.

The concept of a New Fairfield was more in the minds of the blueprint companies than in the reality on the ground.

What you see is not what they wanted.

A disclaimer in one Brookville newspaper article outlining the Redevelopment Corp.'s objectives:

"It is pointed out that this is a non-profit organization, and that membreshuip does not constitute a commitment or any kind, neither to buy a lot nor to move to the new town. But members will be given first choice of lots, and the cost of membership will be deductible from the price of the lot."

It's worth noting that NONE of the members of the Redevelopment Corp., except for Banning, ever lived in New Fairfield ... and never intended to live there. The Sheplers already lived on the Klein farm. Schwegmann eventually moved his house to New Fairfield.

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