the history at pompanuck began when Native Americans still lived in these hills between the Green and the Taconic Mountains, there was a tribe and perhaps a chief known as Pompanuck, who lived on this site, or so we gleaned after researching local histories. Pompanuck's tribe, originally Pequots, migrated north to this area from coastal Connecticut where the Pequots were embroiled in chronic, violent battles with the Europeans known collectively as King Philip's Wars. They traveled up the Connecticut and Housatonic River Valleys to settle near the land of the Mahicans, peaceful people who had long been allies.

Eventually European settlers, some of Dutch origin, settled along the waterway which threads through the land and feeds into the White Creek. They built a number of mills on the creek, grew potatoes and raised sheep. The stream became know as Pumpkin Hook. Hoek, pronounced hook, means stream in Dutch. Perhaps the area was also known for its pumpkin crop but many area historians relate the name Pumpkin Hook to its predecessor, Pompanuck. In fact, Grandma Moses, in describing the area still referred to it as Pompanuck.

The name had particular significance for the founders of Pompanuck not only because it describes this particular place but also because it was founded as a refuge for people, a place to find peaceful living.

In 1989, the six founders envisioned this place as an environmentally sound, self-supporting, creatively actualized community of teachers and families, dedicated to sharing resources and having a place to explore collaboration in our various disciplines as teachers and artists. Since our groundbreaking in 1991, we have hand-built each of the structures and gardens, with the help of many friends, with these concepts in mind. Pompanuck has been called “a living sculpture” that continues to evolve with the support and vision of the many people who have been inspired by Pompanuck’s spirit.


pompanuck farm institute 494 chestnut hill road cambridge, ny 12816 518.677.5552