Bluegrass Conservancy would like to honor Frances Power Canty and the incredible legacy of her land. In 2008, Ms. Canty placed conservation easements on two family farms, Arrowhead Farm and Ridge Farm, in Franklin County and Woodford County respectively. Ms. Canty passed away earlier this spring but her spirit of conservation remains. The following information was compiled during visits with Ms. Canty in 2008.
Ms. Canty was raised on Arrowhead Farm in Jett, KY, a small community between Frankfort and Versailles. Arrowhead Farm is the sole remnant of the community, which once boasted a post office and railroad station, a half-dozen businesses, and several schools and churches. Jett virtually disappeared with the construction of Interstate 64 and Arrowhead Farm was eventually subsumed into Frankfort proper.
In 2007, Ms. Canty began a significant renovation project on her childhood home, the James Major House. Colonel James Major (1761-1861), the original Arrowhead landowner, was a veteran of the American Continental Army and was thought to arrive in Kentucky with Daniel Boone from Virginia around 1797. Major is known as one of Franklin County’s most prominent citizens. Although the historic home remained vacant for many years and showed signs of neglect, Ms. Canty diligently restored the structure. The house, a federal style, Flemish bond brick dwelling built in 1821, and its turn-of-the-19th-century outbuildings (including a worker’s cottage, chicken coop, frame barn, and corn crib) were placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior’s National Park Service on September 28, 1989 for excellent local adaptation of the federal style architecture.
Developers and county officials approached Ms. Canty countless times, encouraging her to sell and re-zone her property to allow for more car dealerships, houses, and gas stations. Ms. Canty was not swayed and in 2008, donated an easement to Bluegrass Conservancy to protect Arrowhead Farm from development in perpetuity and to provide green space for Franklin County citizens to enjoy through the ages.
Arrowhead Farm, located on the west side of U.S. 60, consists of eighty-seven acres of scenic, open-space. In the past, the farm was a cattle operation and produced many different crops. Now, it is home to retired thoroughbreds and provides a scenic viewshed for the public passing by to enjoy.
Ms. Canty owned another ninety-two acre farm, Ridge Farm, located in Woodford County along Duncan Road. She ran a small bed and breakfast at Ridge Farm in addition to a cattle operation. Ridge Farm is bordered by a well-forested tributary of Glenns Creek, which ultimately flows to the Kentucky River. The farm is well-lined by extensive historic stone fences.
Decision to Donate
Ms. Canty’s conviction that history and farmland were worth preserving was evident in her courage to forego the sale of her farms for commercial development and ensure that they would remain available as agricultural and historical resources in perpetuity. She was offered high dollar amounts on many occasions to convert her land into development and she adamantly refused. Ms. Canty was certain that her heirs would eventually recognize her decision as a gift rather than a hindrance and be encouraged to design a plan for sustainable agriculture.
Additionally, Ms. Canty and her advisors decided that the donation of a conservation easement to Bluegrass Conservancy could alleviate some estate tax burdens for her heirs. (Read more about estate tax benefits of a conservation easement on page 7.)
Bluegrass Conservancy honors Ms. Canty for her fearless determination and will remember her generosity for the preservation of farmland and historic resources in Central Kentucky. For more information on conservation easements and how you can protect your land contact Ashley Greathouse at 859-255-4552.