Swansea Historical Society

Hayloft Youth Hostel, Walkden Farm, Swansea, MA


Some background information...

The Dairy Farm on Chace Avenue, now Marvel Street, was established in 1775 and ran until to 1800. Marshall Walkden took over the dairy farm in the late 1800's.

Headlines stated "Swansea Barn Becomes a Popular Youth Hostel."

The first Youth Hostel opened in the United Stated in 1934 in Northfield Massachusetts.

We are not 100% sure when Mr. and Mr. Charles Walkden offered their barn to the American Youth Hostel. We do know that it was open in 1951 and remained open in the 1960's.

Any young person or adult on a hiking or biking tour through the American Youth Hostel Council could use the Longmeadow Youth Hostel on Chace Avenue (now Marvel Street) at the Walkden Farm.

The accommodations provided separate sleeping quarters, a community kitchen, and a private bathroom for young men and one for young women. The accommodations at the Walkden Farm were said to be luxurious.

The slideshow below is a full account of the Youth Hostel at the Walkden's Farm.


Hayloft Hostel

    Homespun Verse by Marion Walkden

We live in a "House by the Side of the Road"
  And we want to share it with you,
So welcome to Hayloft Hostel,
  We hope you'll enjoy it, too.

At all times your hostel should be neat,
  Your cooperation we need to accomplish this feat.
Put your groceries in the cupboard beside the sink
  And there's extra room in the refrigerator, I think.

Saddle bags go upstairs under your bank,
  And rods for clothes in the wall are sunk.
Doing these things keep your hostel neat
  So that others will want to come here to meet.

The things we have we'll share with you,
  Even though our luxuries may be few.
Enjoy your home here while you stay,
  or we like sharing the hosteler's way.