Located along the eastern border of Woodstream was the Roberts Farm, at 300 acres this was one of Evesham’s largest. Although the Farm was sold in 1974, it remained in operation until 1977 under a leasing arrangement with the developer, Lincoln Properties, who began developing Grentree Village there in the Spring of 1977. Horace Roberts began buying small farms around 1912 which his son Byron helped him maintain. Roberts continued to purchase these farms until the World War II years when the farm reached the size it remained at until the final years in the 1970’s when the Farm's main crop was fruit.
After Byron’s death in 1966, his son Malcolm became owner of the Farm. Malcolm’s Grandson Scott enjoys reminiscing about his days living on the Farm. “The best time of year was during December when the Farm sold Christmas Trees”, says Scott, “but the Apple Orchards were our main crop”. Scott remembers his neighbors, “The Stows were dairy farmers across from us on Greentree Road. The Hines Farm directly to the East also had orchards, to the Southwest was the Traino Farm and Peach Orchards". Scott also remembers stories how in the 1950’s Roberts Farm was a tourist attraction where folks would come and ride horses through the rows of orchards."But this was before any developments reached the farms borders” Scott tells. Scott says he used to help at the Holtz Farm down Cropwell Road pulling Cows out of the Creek when they would wonder there.
Byron Robert's Obit from March, 1966.
1967 photo of North Cropwell Road facing Route 73. The orchards of Roberts Farm are shown lining the road - Apples on the right and Peaches on the left. The Roberts Packing House on Route 73 can be seen in the center of the photo.
“When the King Farm was sold and the Marlton Hills site was constructed that was the very beginning of the Rural to Suburbs change” Scott reflects. That was in the mid 1950’s. “Around 1970 many farmers felt the Township wanted them to sell and leave so the “City Folk” could take over.” As Scott relates, most of the leaders – at times even the Mayor himself - in the Township were farmers up until this time. The development in the area brought changes both small and large. Scott remembers around 1966 when the High-tension power lines and Towers were built across the Southern border of their farm and through Evesham Township. Discussing the problems that a farm had to deal with bordering housing developments, “One particular time around 1972 my Uncle pulled out a Salt Gun and shot a few kids in their backsides with a small salt pack because they tried to steal. That’s what it came down to protect property”. Scott tells us that as Marlton grew farming became impossible, “The population growth was a hugh part”. He estimates that from 1960 to 1970 the population grew 250% here. “So around 1974-75 we sold the Farm to Lincoln Properties, but leased the land free of charge until around 1977 to harvest and tend the trees.” After this, most of the Roberts family moved to Vermont while Scott and his parents remained in Marlton.
Scott Roberts remembers the installation of the Traffic Signal at Greentree Road and Route 73, shown in this May, 1974 photo. He said this light made it easier for them to get farm equipment across the highway.
1966 newspaper ad for Roberts Farm
Hits since 03-28-2010
I created this then-and-now image showing the Garwood farmhouse that Byron Roberts lived in on Greentree Road showing where it stood on a photo of the area how it is today. This is West Lincoln Drive just before Bittersweet Court.