Outpost Farm

The home of Col. and Mrs. Louis D. Conley was the center of a huge estate, covering more than 1,000 acres, that extended from the vicinity of Copps Hill Plaza north along Route 35 and Route 7 into Danbury.

The house stood on the north side of Bennett's Farm Road, about three quarters of a mile west of Route 7 (back then, the road was called Maplewood Road). The site is now part of the Bennett's Pond open space; where the house stood is today a clearing overlooking miles of hillsides. Remnants of the steps and terraces on this lawn can still be seen.

Here's what Notable Ridgefielders says about Col. Conley:

Col. Louis Daniel Conley was a "man of large affairs," said the headline of his Press obituary. The efforts of one of those affairs – his nursery will be felt well into the 21st Century. A native of New York City, Colonel Conley was born in 1874 and headed the sizable Conley Tinfoil manufacturing company. He also commanded the old Fighting 69th Regiment of the New York National Guard from 1910 to 1918. In 1914, he retired from the family business and built Outpost Farm on Bennett’s Farm Road. By 1922, his Outpost Corporation owned included the 1,000-plus-acre Outpost Nurseries that covered most of the land along Danbury Road and northern Route 7. The holdings also included kennels (formerly Belzoni’s Red Lion restaurant) and the Outpost Inn (now Fox Hill condominiums). He established and operated a summer camp for poor city boys, complete with swimming pool and a professional director, on his estate, and was a major promoter of Boy Scouting in the state. When he died in 1930 of meningitis, he was only 56. His mansion later became the Fox Hill Inn, a famous restaurant from the 1940s till the early 1970s when IBM bought it for a possible corporate site. IBM razed the house in 1974 and, in 1998, sold the land to Eureka, a developing company. The town took the northern property by eminent domain, and sold it to the state, which operates Bennett's Ponds State Park there. On an open hill at the park, you can see the circular driveway, still extant, that was right behind the mansion.

The Conley family subdivided or sold much of the nursery land, and what was left was operated by J. Mortimer Woodcock for many years. However, Outpost trees and shrubs planted for stock and for decoration still adorn many roads and home lots today, and many road names in Farmingville and Limestone Districts recall the colonel’s plantings.  

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