Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Newell Farm — when a vision becomes a reality

March 09, 2023 | Community News

By Sarah Lincoln and Butch Hause
Special to the Surveyor

Standing in our pasture in the fall of 2018, Berthoud Mayor Will Karspeck spoke with conviction.
“We have to find a way to make this happen,” he said after we had laid out our vision to turn our historic farmstead into a park that the Town of Berthoud (Town) and the entire Little Thompson Valley could enjoy for years to come. Nodding his head in agreement, he added, “it’s perfect.”
Karspeck’s words became the guiding force that launched an unconventional yet successful campaign that took over five years to complete. Within days after meeting with us, Mayor Karspeck invited newly hired Town Administrator Chris Kirk to our farm and, after hearing the proposal, said the opportunity was too good to pass up. But Kirk threw in a big reality check: the Town had much work to do before it could consider a new park that contained a historic farmstead. Plus, he needed to bring Town standards and plans up to date, and establish a proper funding process to allow the purchase of new parkland and open space areas. This would take years and there was still no guarantee that the trustees would approve this purchase. But, like Mayor Karspeck, Kirk committed to trying his best.
Their efforts, along with the PORT (Parks, Open Space, Recreation and Trails) committee and the Berthoud Board of Trustees, finally brought closure to this lengthy process. Just two months ago on Jan. 3, 2023, Newell Farm became Newell Farm Park — Berthoud’s latest acquisition in their growing parks and open space portfolio. It was a long and emotional process for us, but worth every minute we spent pursuing the goal.
Newell Farm, the farmstead with the red windmill on Highway 56 southeast of Berthoud’s Greenlawn Cemetery, is named for Ernest and Rose Newell who resided on the place for nearly 60 years, from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. The farmhouse was built in 1879 and is our residence.
Mark French, president of the Berthoud Historical Society explains, “Ernest was a successful farmer and the town historian for many years. Rose, a woman leader who homesteaded by herself near Hygiene before marrying Ernest, led many important improvements to the town. Ernest and Rose were beloved in Berthoud.”
We purchased the farm 30 years ago and have held the annual Farm Concert here for the past 20 years. Our Farm Concert patrons, many of who are descendants of pioneer families, helped us understand how important the preservation of Newell Farm is to the community. Although the farmstead sits on a strip of land that was slated for “commercial” or “urban” development according to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, that land is also part of the gateway into Berthoud from the east. Our goal was to honor Berthoud’s rural heritage in that gateway.
Now that the transition from farmstead to farm park is complete, we’d like to address what this means to our plans for the future.
Everyone we talked to during this process — and there were hundreds of people — said the town park idea was a “no-brainer,” with one caveat: no one wanted us to move because they didn’t want the Farm Concerts to cease. Fortunately, due to a concept called a “Reservation of Life Estate” (often used by National Parks to purchase family ranches), we will continue to reside on the farm and hold the annual Farm Concert every summer and the park will be built around us. When our lives are over, the Town will take over the entire property, complete with the historic farmhouse, cistern, grainery (now a world-class recording studio) and outdoor amphitheater.
By bookending Berthoud with Farm Parks — Waggener Farm Park on the west and Newell Farm Park on the east — Berthoud’s rural history will be honored in perpetuity. A fun fact is that Mayor Will Karspeck’s father, Milan Karspeck, was the key individual in the establishment of Waggener Farm Park when he was mayor in 2006. The Karspeck family’s legacy of open space preservation is deeply rooted in the very land that surrounds our wonderful community.
To learn more about the history of Newell Farm and the annual Farm Concert, visit

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