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County History

Famed Old Estate Villa Belvidere May Be Broken Up

Allegany County

Celebrating 200 Years  --  1806 ~ 2006

Famed Old Villa Belvidere Estate May Be Broken Up

Sale of stock, equipment scheduled; owner reported ready to sell home, divide land

Belvidere, April 2—With an auction sale of livestock and farm and poultry equipment scheduled in a few days, another chapter will be written into the history of the famous Villa Belvidere Farms, a fine old Allegany County plot rich in tradition and Indian lore.

S. Hoxie Clark, the present owner, with his wife and two daughters, formerly occupied the villa intermittently, while superintendents cultivated the farm’s many fertile acres.  With the death of Mrs. Clark a few years ago, the family lost interest in its once famous Belvidere home, so much so, in fact, that Mr. Clark has not returned to it in months, although the acres have continued under cultivation and the villa kept open by a caretaker.

It is understood Mr. Clark now proposes to dispose of the villa together with a suitable amount of land.  The hill land, on the back Angelica Road, may be turned over to the state, while many hundreds of rich alluvial acres on the Genesee River will be sold or rented intact.

The stone and brick Villa Belvidere was built in 1810 by Judge Philip Church.  The bricks for the villa were made on the site and the stones were masoned by Italian artisans brought here from Italy by the judge’s father, John B. Church, a prominent New Yorker.

The Farms, under a recent owner, the late F. B. Keeney boasted the largest herd of thoroughbred Jerseys in the world.  Included in this outstanding lot were some of world fame, such as Amelia, the prize and pet of the herdsman, the late Thomas Henry.  This herd was distributed to the four corners of the country when the late Mr. Clark disposed of it at public and private sale.

(Special to Buffalo Courier Express; Date unknown - prior to 1947)

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