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Farm with many lives

Swiss Village Farm was the fanciful creation of Arthur Curtis James, who in 1909 bought the land, in Newport, Rhode Island, and in 1914 began building what he called Surprise Valley Farm to house the herd of Guernsey cattle he had inherited. He had the assemblage of buildings designed in the style of villages in the Italian region of Switzerland. In its heyday, the farm employed more than 100 people and covered 125 acres (it now sits on 35 acres).

In 1975 developers bought the farm and turned it into the Edgehill Alcoholic Rehabilitation Center, Edgehill being the name of the farm's old manor house. The Independence Square Foundation took over the property in 1993, using it as a center for people with disabilities. After buying the property in 1999, Dorrance Hamilton, creator of the SVF Foundation, conducted extensive restorations. The SVF Foundation commenced its animal husbandry and other activities in 2002.