It all began after a long search for just the right country home…
The late President and CEO of Norton Co. George Jeppson purchased Oakholm Farm in 1925, from the Willis Sibley Family. George and his wife Selma were of Swedish descent from Worcester. The Swedish heritage was prominent throughout the farm estate.
Oakholm Farm overlooking Lake Quaboag, is on a knoll surrounded by oak forests. A knoll in Swedish is “holm,” as in Stockholm, prompting Selma Jeppson to name the place Oakholm. Oakholm was a wonderful counterpart to the formal lives they lived in Worcester.
As the years passed, Georges son, John Jeppson also became the chairman and CEO of Norton, which is now Saint-Gobain. John later took over the operation of Oakholm Farm as well.
For decades, John Jeppson the 2nd was a business and civic leader in Worcester. He ran Norton Company and headed the boards of Clark University and the American Antiquarian Society. He served in key positions at the Worcester Art Museum, Tower Hill Botanic Garden and a host of community organizations. Mr. Jeppson fit all of that in around operating Oakholm, a 150-acre commercial farm and family retreat in Brookfield.
Oakholm, with its 12 buildings, acres of woodland, pastures and beautiful gardens was a place for relaxation and fun. Over the last 100 years the Jeppson’s have raised Belgian horses, Guernsey & Dexter cows, turkeys and other animals, as well as Christmas trees, blueberries, and raspberries. They maintained the hayfields and beautiful gardens.
Oakholm played an important role in John Jeppson’s romance and second marriage, to former Marianne Shellabarger. Their happy union throughout 60 years was instrumental in keeping Oakholm a special place and was the central theme of his book, “Making Hay.”
There are engaging tales about loyal servants who stayed with the family for decades. There were visits by Swedish royalty, the national soccer teams and the Sofia Girls, renowned gymnasts from Sweden; all of them entertained at the farm. There are tales of their beloved pets, a herd of diseased cattle that had to be destroyed, equestrian episodes, an orphaned hummingbird called Jefferson, a pair of bald eagles, and, of course, making hay — at first the old fashioned way by hand, and later with the help of machinery. There are stories about showdowns between humans and varmints that feast on berries and flowers, bats hiding behind shutters and an invasion of cats and foxes. “Making Hay” reflects John Jeppson’s gracious personality, love of life and nostalgia for a simpler world.
From Lake Road, “Oakholm” reads above one of the three iconic barns that greets you as you enter this extensive family retreat. A private winding drive leads to the 6,557± sq. ft. main house, originally built in the 1800s and expanded in the 1930s. Situated atop a knoll, this residence affords a picturesque view down across the lawns and out over the waters of Quaboag Lake. A display which connects the residence to its remarkably beautiful and private natural setting. On the opposite side of Lake Road sits the current caretaker’s house with cleared agricultural fields and a Christmas tree nursery.
Babe & Christina Predella have made it their dream to preserve the gem of Brookfield with their family & dear friends; and maintain this special property for what it served as for generations. The couple will continue to offer high quality Christmas trees, blueberries and raspberries, host retreats for summers, holidays, family reunions, as well as create a legacy of their own as a wedding & event venue, craft brewery, and family farm. Their mission is to most importantly keep the farm a place of love, respect, fun, celebration, peace and relaxation, and a place where families come together. A place where people enter as strangers and leave as friends.
Oakholm Farm Estate
80 Lake Road
Brookfield, MA 01506