This farm of 120 or so acres, is located on Fletcher Farm Road in the Town of Franklin and St. Armand. It was purchased in 1905 by Peter O'Malley, grandfather of Paul VanCour, now of Saratoga Springs from whom this information was gathered. It was an existing farm stretching westward to the Bloomingdale (Franklin-Essex County) line. Some of the acreage was still in forest, to be cleared later by Fred VanCour, Sr. to provide pasturage for the herd of 60 milk cows. The family established a dairy in 1918, which lasted until 1958 when the demand for a greater variety of milk products proved to be more than this small business could handle. During its thriving years, Pleasant Valley Dairy delivered its products to Saranac Lake, Bloomingdale, Vermontville, Onchiota, and beyond.
In the days before electricity, refrigeration was supplied by way of blocks of ice harvested from ponds in surrounding communities and hauled by horse and wagon to a huge icehouse at the farm.
Water was a major consideration also, not only for milk processing itself, but also for the dairy herd and staff on the premises. A 24-foot, dug well supplied all these needs for more than thirty years of operation of the dairy. To insure a constant supply of water, a windmill constructed on the west side of the house pumped water to a cistern or water tank on the second floor of the house. As the tank reached capacity, the overflow bled down to the kitchen sink, thus signaling it was time to stop the windmill by stilling the vanes and thus cease pumping. Even during severe droughts this system did not fail, but kept the dairy functioning smoothly at all times. The VanCours cultivated additional acreage on Norman Ridge for the purpose of growing hay for the stock and potatoes for a cash crop.
The original farmhouse was built with four rooms on the first floor and four bedrooms on the second floor. Over the milk plant additional rooms were constructed to accommodate hired hands. The house has a gabled roof and clapboard is used on the exterior with metal roofing. Windows are double hung with fixed sash on the porches. The farmhouse also was built with wide porches on the front and west side, some of which still remain. A large long barn remains on the grounds.
This property has a long history, starting back with records of 50 acres in Lot 242,being conveyed by Sophronia A. Martin to Mary Garland. Liber 80 - Page 476 August 22, 1887. Next (for our purposes) George M. Martin conveys to Belle Flanders, Liber 84 - Page 463 & Page 465 on April 2, 1889. Record follows that Belle & Warren Flanders convey to James O'Malley by Liber 125 - Page 229 on September 12, 1905. Property goes to Peter O'Malley by Liber 125 -Page 433 on October 19, 1905. Peter and Isabel O'Malley convey to Fred and Florence VanCour by Liber 171 - Page 202 dated January 6, 1921. Fred and Florence convey to Peter and Adelaide VanCour 5 acres in Lot 241, Liber 248- Page 130 on November 8, 1945. Next is Florence VanCour to Jacob Stein, parts of lots 241 and 242, Liber 478 - Page 762 on August 27, 1976. Jacob Stein to Frank & Karen Johns by Liber 478 - Page 770 on August 27, 1976. Next and present owners are Craig and Tracy Posdzich by Liber 713 - Page 261 on December 23, 1998.
As noted above, Mrs. Fred VanCour, Sr. occupied the farmhouse until 1976 at which time it was sold to Karen and Frank Johns. More recently the house and barns were purchased by Tracy and Craig Posdzich who plan to restore some of the existing structures and reestablish an agrarian atmosphere.