Do you remember the Green Ridge Turkey Farm? Who can forget the giant turkey that once stared out across the Daniel Webster Highway from its perch atop that iconic sign?
For nearly 60 years, the Green Ridge Turkey Farm stood on the corner of DW Highway and Spit Brook Road in Nashua, NH, about two miles north of the state border with Massachusetts. Its site was historic – the main house of the farm, called the manor house, had been a long-time Nashua landmark, dating to revolutionary times when it had served as a stage-coach inn.
Through several ownership changes and one major fire, the Green Ridge served dinners and pies to generations of New Englanders. The Green Ridge served not just turkey, but also seafood, and, briefly steak, when the Olde Coach Inn and Restaurant closed and the Green Ridge opened its short-lived steakhouse.
But, of course, people best knew the Green Ridge Turkey Farm for its turkeys, which were sold either “drawn and ready for the oven” or “cooked and pan-roasted.” The Green Ridge also offered its own dressing and gravy.
The Green Ridge Turkey Farm’s Early Years
The Green Ridge Turkey Farm got its start when George and Grace Kimball bought the 200-acre property in 1931 and opened a farm stand. Its frontage on the Daniel Webster Highway contributed to the Kimballs’ success. By 1938, Mr. and Mrs. Kimball expanded the stand, adding turkey sandwiches and ice cream to its offerings. Two years later, in 1940, the Kimballs added the restaurant, and the Green Ridge’s reputation for great turkey, supplied directly from their farm, quickly caught on. The farm was soon raising 6,000 turkeys.
The reputation of the Green Ridge as a restaurant and turkey farm spread throughout New England during the war years. Then, during one of its best years, just four days after Thanksgiving, disaster struck the Green Ridge. At 6 PM on the evening of November 27, 1950, a few hours after the farm had hosted the New England Turkey Growers’ Association, Dr. Frank Flagg knocked on the door of Mr. and Mrs. Kimball’s home. The Green Ridge, just 100 yards south from where they were sitting, was on fire.
Dr. Flagg and the Kimballs set off to alert the fire department, but couldn’t find a working telephone. A recent storm had knocked out phone service in the area. Eventually, others saw the smoke and flames in the sky and the calls began arriving at the Nashua Fire Department. The first caller told the fire department that the ‘Green Ridge farm building [was] ready to explode.’ A moment later, a call from the Wayside Furniture Company confirmed that something was wrong at the Green Ridge.
The Central and Lake Street stations responded to the fire. All call men were soon summoned to duty. Firefighters arrived to find the fire at its peak and the interior of the building was completely engulfed in flames as the smoke rose skyward. Motorists and nearby residents stopped to watch the fire.
A lack of hydrants in the area meant the firefighters had no available water. Firefighters had to rush a half-mile south to another property in order to get water. By then, the fire was out of control.
By the time the fire was out, the restaurant was a total loss. George Kimball told reporters he didn’t have adequate insurance coverage to rebuild. The restaurant had been officially closed for the season just a couple of days before, and would have reopened the next year, on February 22.
The losses were deep, however, and the costs were formidable to replace the lost dining room, soda fountain, and two deep-freeze units that had been holding 250 turkeys. The Kimballs put the Green Ridge Turkey Farm on the market.
After the Fire: The Flanders Years
A buyer came forward. On March 15, 1951, the Kimballs sold the Green Ridge Turkey Farm to Mr. and Mrs. Howard Flanders. Howard Flanders was active in local Nashua politics, serving on the Governor’s Executive Council.
The Flanders rebuilt the restaurant and reopened it soon after. John Flanders, their son, recalls, “They bought Green Ridge Turkey Farm in 1952. It was a farm stand then. They built the large restaurant. … We had 25,000 turkeys on the range behind the restaurant. Thanksgiving was a nightmare!”
During the Flanders’ ownership, the Green Ridge was open from 11 in the morning until 11 at night. Full meals started at $1.75, John Flanders remembers.
The Charpentier Years
The Flanders’ ownership of the Green Ridge lasted only a few years. After rebuilding and reopening the restaurant following the 1950 fire, the Flanders sold it to Victor and Anna Charpentier in 1954.
The husband-and-wife team moved to Nashua from Somersworth, NH and ran the restaurant for 12 years. He oversaw the kitchen. She ran the dining rooms. They managed personnel together. People drove north on Route 3 from all over Massachusetts and southern New England for leaf-peeping, skiing, and to come to the Green Ridge.
Business boomed during those post-war years and Victor and Anna invested in the restaurant, adding two large function rooms and a cocktail lounge. “Every Sunday, there was a long waiting line to get seated,” Gail, the couple’s daughter, remembers.
When Victor Charpentier died in 1966, Anna retired as the restaurant’s owner and manager, and control of the Green Ridge passed to Victor’s nephew, Luc. Luc Charpentier ran the restaurant through the 1970s, 1980s, and into the mid-1990s, when it was closed, razed, and replaced by a Barnes & Noble, which still stands at the site.
A lot has changed on the site where the Green Ridge Turkey Farm stood for so many years. DW highway is no longer a country road. Turkey shelters no longer dot the turkey range behind the restaurant. Today, new restaurants, stores, and strip malls fill the spaces between the stop lights that have sprung up on a widened and much busier Daniel Webster Highway.
The Green Ridge still lives on in the memories of New England residents. As one commenter said here in 2013, “I discovered the Turkey Farm and fell in love with it. No one ever came to visit me … who wasn’t treated to a fine New England turkey dinner there. … I was devastated when they closed.”
Even today, many of us still look twice for that giant turkey when we drive up and down Nashua’s DW Highway.
Has it really been more than 20 years since it came down?
Many thanks to Gail Charpentier and John Flanders, both children of former owners of the Green Ridge for their contributions to this article.
67 thoughts on “Remembering the Green Ridge Turkey Farm – Nashua, NH”
Great post! We were just talking about the Turkey Farm last week when we drove by the old location. There are lots of folks who still remember.
Had some great meals there. Very said to see it gone…
Remember Green Ridge and miss it. It was the best ever.
Thanks Maureen, Martha, and Heather for your memories. Thanks too to the Growing Up in Chelmsford Facebook Group for sharing this with its members. If you’ve got ties to Chelmsford and surrounding towns, please check their group out.
My first job was washing dishes at Green Ridge. For lunch you could have anything on the menu expect lobster or stuffed jumbo shrimp. I always got the swordfish stake.
Bob, I worked there in the 80’s as a waitress. Do you remember Rita? I think her name was Rita….she was elderly by the time I was employeed there. She was one of the managers I believe.
I don’t remember Rita, but I don’t remember anyone outside of the kitchen staff. I’m not sure I ever saw the waitresses. It was strange in that I never made it out of the kitchen. The first time I saw the restaurant was when we moved there in 1963. We stayed at the hotel right next to it until we found a house to rent. So I had eaten there quite a bit around 1963 and years later it ended up being my first job. I worked all summer and bought my first electric guitar with the money I saved.
Ha! Great story Bob! I worked there in the late 80’s and remember in the kitchen 2 boys from Brazil. Mello and Juarez……That’s it. I don’t remember any other names…..My brother was a bus boy there and all the waitresses loved him…….I have a picture of me in my uniform and a picture of those boys. I think I will post them on my Greenridge Facebook. Thanks for responding!
I knew Rita when my parents owned and opera Green Ridge, if it’s the same person.
I have a facebook page of the Greenridge Turkey Farm. I have been hoping that old employees would like the page!!! Great memories!
Thanks, Linda, for posting about the Facebook page. This is one of my more popular posts. I bet a lot of people reading this post are former employees of the Greenridge.
I was a busboy from 1965 to 1967 with my brother Joe. A lot of great memories I was 16 years old when I started.
I worked at the Green Ridge Steak House, it’s sister restaurant next door
Its a great memory we discussed on Thanksgiving…. Does anyone know if the original owners were related to the Kimball’s of Westford that started the ice cream stand?
Wow, I had no idea Green Ridge Turkey Farm was gone. I was planning a rode trip from R.I. to go there and just found out. How sad!
It went through alot of different owners and was finally and sadly enough shutdown in the early 90s. I loved that place! Great good and great times.
I have seen pictures of me walking through the turkey farm with my great grandfather Erastus Benjamin
I lived in Chelmsford from 1990 through 1999. During the early part of my time there, I discovered the Turkey Farm and fell in love with it. No one came to visit me from out West that they weren’t treated to a fine New Englland turkey dinner at the Turkey Farm. I was devastated when they closed in the mid 90’s. I heard they reopened down somewhere near the coast, but I was never able to locate another restaurant by that name. Great loss!! I’m back in California now, with wonderful memories of some of the greatest turkey pot pies on earth, and sad that I will never again be able to enjoy one.
Should have said “New England”
I rememeber this place so well as a kid. Even worked there briefly on their wait staff. Been to so many places – And except for my Grandmother’s bird – Nothing comes close ri the turkey from Greenwich. Reading the post brought back such fond memories of my life in Nashua. Thanks.
I worked there as a line cook in the 60’s great place to work.
Victor Charpentier, who purchased the Green Ridge from the Flanders, was my father. As described in the article, Dad – and Mom, Anna M. Charpentier – bought Green Ridge in 1954 from Mr. Flanders. Dad and Mom (Mr. and Mrs. C to their employees) operated the restaurant from1954 through 1966, while I was growing up in Nashua and attending Notre Dame Academy in Tyngsboro as a day student. When Dad died of a long illness. Mom couldn’t
see herself continuing to operate the restaurant after his death, so my cousin, Luc Charpentier (son of Edmund who co-owned it with Vic and Ann) took over the ownership and operated it until its closing in the mid 1990’s.
During their ownership, my parents were so proud of their success – a cocktail lounge, addition of a large function room and the delicious Friday Night Buffet. I currently have in my home the Spinnet piano that came from the restaurant.
Business boomed in the 50’s and 60’s. Many pf the Daniel Webster Highway business owners were so upset with the proposed building of Interstate 93 that would eventually re-route the tourist and ski traffic from Boston to the White Mountains and Lakes Region away from the DW Highway. But they couldn’t foresee that business would continue to be good despite. I still meet people who remember the Green Ridge. How nice to see this article and the posts following it!
Sadly, my mother, Anna, passed away this month after a long and active life. I miss them both.
Hi Gail – thanks for your comment. Many do remember the Green Ridge. And it’s very clear, reading through the comments, that it’s still remembered and missed. Thanks for sharing!
I wish the recipe for making that bread stuffing was posted somewhere. I miss it greatly.
Gail, what can you tell me about Vic’s Diner in Somersworth?
I moved to Nashua in ’59 when my parents bought ” the Flanders place”. Not sure if our Flanders were the owners mentioned here.
The Green ridge was a N.H. landmark for many years. Whenever I came home from college and later when I was married the famous Greenridge buffet was always at the top of our list of Nashua things to do. I remember Mr’ Dion who used to own Dion’s Bright spot at lake & elm sts. and later Dunstable rd. used to carve the roast beef. ham and Turkey. He used to serve up 5 cent hot dogs to me when I was at Crowley St. school. A nice man and a wonderful place for families to get together for the evning.
Charlie Grigas NHS 61er
I was a waitress there for 30 years, many wonderful memories
Terry! Find the Greenridge Turkey Farm on Facebook. Maybe we knew each other
Sent from my iPhone
Wasn’t there a Greenridge steakhouse next door?
The Olde Coach restaurant and lodge was located next door, heading north, for many years. I believe that when The Olde Coach closed, Green Ridge opened the short-lived steak house there.( I’m digging deep for this memory, so if anyone else has better info, feel free to share!) My aunt was a waitress for many years at Green Ridge, and another aunt was the bookkeeper at The Olde Coach.
Pat, You are right about the Olde Coach Inn and Restaurant. next door to Green Ridge. It was there during my parents’ ownership of Green Ridge, in the 1950’s until mid-1960’s. I’m not sure when Olde Coach Inn closed. I don’t know about the Steak House. That was after my time i Nashua.
When I was 15 years old in the summer of 1965 at worked at the Olde Coach as a dishwasher then as a salad man making salads. My Brother Joe Upton was working at the Green Ridge next door as a busboy. After about three months I ask the chief for a rase he said no. My brother Joe told me I could make more money as a busboy at the Green Ridge so a quit the Olde Coach and work at the Green Ridge for about three years. Then in 1968, I went across the street to work as a waiter at the 88 Restaurant until 1969.
I’m John Flanders, Howard & Dorothy’s son.
Nice to read your story.
We were just talking about the Green Ridge with somebody we took there in the 90’s when she was about 9 years old. Her younger brother loved the muffins they made and ate so many that he got sick and to this day avoids eating muffins.
Sara now lives in New Mexico and often shares this story with her 3 children!
Oh my, the memories. I went there as a child in the mid to late 60s. My family settled there in 1736. I lived where the Pheasant Lane Mall is. JC Penny’s front door is where my bedroom used to be. Those memories that feel so good, they hurt…they include Green Ridge…always.
Hi Marianne – thanks for your comment! There’s a lot of interest in the Green Ridge, still! This is one of my most popular posts here. I remember the area where the Pheasant Lane is now as an empty field (in the 80s). I remember the drive-in, a shoe store, Shakey’s and the Singapore along DW Highway. I didn’t know there were houses back there. I’d love to do a post on the area before the mall was there. Do you have any photos of what it looked like back there, before the mall?
The Olde Coach was my mother and father’s restaurant also.
Who was your aunt.
I was a busboy there in the mid 1970s. I remember working with Estelle, Priscilla, Terry, Leslie, and many others. I loved that place.
Howard and Dorothy Flanders were my parents. This post brings a lot to me remembering all the great people who worked for us and
so much more. I was 16ish then – 78 now. John Flanders
Hi John, thanks for sharing! If you’ve got some scanned photos of the Green Ridge handy, I’d lost to post them here. This post has been popular with a lot of former employees and patrons of the Green Ridge.
I recall back in the mid 70’s there was a “club” just beside the Greenridge and we went up to see Herb Reed and the Platters. Definately had class and was a decent place to go while working around the state during that time. Does anyone recall the name of the so-called club? Would sure appreciate this brain teaser!
I was walking from my car towards the door of the Bright Spot a few years after Benson’s closed. A car with Connecticut plates stopped and asked for directions to Bensons. I hope they didn’t drive here just for Bensons. Another place to remember.
I don’t remember a club there. Think it might have been the Brothers Four? I know the Platters played there.
I don’t know why, but for some reason the Green Ridge Turkey Farm popped into my head today after an afternoon nap. My parents would take us on ski trips (wearing jeans not snow pants on skis with runaway straps) and hiking trips in NH and the Green Ridge was a favorite stopping place on the way home to Chelmsford. In my younger years ’68-73 or so, I and my two brothers would be so excited (and famished) to pull up at the Turkey Farm after a long day on the road. Thank you for cataloguing this memory.
For many years Route 3 ended in Tyngsboro, MA and at Exit 2 in Nashua. You were diverted to the D.W. Highway which was a direct effort of the merchants along the D.W. Highway in order to maintain traffic flow along the DW Highway and to protect their businesses. OH MY – The memories!!!
There used to be a railroad based amusement park down by the river at the end of Spit Brook Road also Law Motor Freight and Grossman’s Lumber across from the Green Ridge.
At the southern end of the current Pheasant Lane Mall was a drive-in theater.
Anyone remember Hayward Farm on the site of the Nashua Mall on Broad Street at Exit 6???
Haywards is still there, I live close to it.They connected route 3 into Nashua while I was in the service.
One day after I came home I was on Route 3 and was getting ready to turn off in Tyngsboro and saw that the road kept going so I followed it into Nashua.
My older sister remembers when there were turkeys behind the turkey farm.
My folks had a business on Kinsley St. (Route 11) in Nashua.We had a lot of cars stopping and asking directions to Benson’s Animal Farm.
Yes, Hayward Farms was my family’s favorite ice cream place. We lived a few miles away. My parents owned and operated Green Ridge Turkey Farm Restaurant from 1954 – 66. My uncles and cousin took it over from 1966 until it closed in the 1990’s.
No, no. Hayward Farms on Broad Street (Route 130) across from the Fish Hatchery. Where AAA’s office used to be the site of Hayward Farms Dairy. Just south of the entrance of the Nashua Mall used to stand a large dairy barn and most of the Nashua Mall site was pasture all the way to the Nashua River. There was a grave site along the river bank that dated back to the early owners of the property. The graves were re-located as part of the expansion of Route 3 and the Nashua Mall development.
My dad and I both worked for Hayward Farms Dairy in the 60’s and 70’s. My dad continued to deliver milk – home deliveries (remember that???) until the early 90’s even after Hayward’s had closed.
I’ve kept one of my original pin-striped white bib-overall uniform with the Hayward logo patch.
(Don’t fit in them any more) I think they shrunk…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Yes I drove one of those Divco Truck – stick shift – standing controls.
The Hayward Ice Cream Stand on South Main St was originally a spin off from Hayward Farms Ice Cream Stand located on Route 101A (Nashua Street in Milford NH) and was owned by cousins of the Haywards who owned the 150 Broad Street Nashua site.
My father delivered milk with a horse and wagon. He would walk from Dexter street in Nashua to Hollis to pick up the horse and wagon. A little aside, I found in an old directory that my grandparents address was Nagle Street at one time. Dexter street hadn’t been created yet. My father had an out house until he was 16.
I think I went to school with your sister or cousin, Patty at St. Joseph’s on Lake Street. I remember getting Groton and baked beans at Latour’s Market at the corner of Lake and Sawyer Streets. My grandmother’s cousins were the Bechards that lived a crossed Sawyer Street in the yellow house on the corner.
Yes, Patty was my cousin, she grew up in our grandparents home. My parents owned Latour’s.
They also had a store in the 1930s up until WWII. My father also built houses on Dexter & Nagle St.
I left Lowell for California in 1954 but went back many times over the years, and always tried to get to the Turkey Farm at least once- (had two sisters who lived in Nashua). In addition to turkey, they had a traditional New England clam chowder that NOBODY has on the West Coast. Lobster at Bishop’s in Lawrence and steak at the Hilltop in Saugus were often on the menu. They’re all gone.
My parents and family went regularly to Bishops in Lawrence. We considered it one of the very best restaurants.
My ex-hushed was in the A Force andwe we’re stationed in Concord. We we lived in Lowell and went to Green Ridge Turkey Farm often especially when we hadout of town visitors. Also loved going to Saugus to Hilltop Steak House! Left New England in 1973 and have never been back😢
The Green Ridge Turkey Farm Restaurant was our favorite place to dine ! We lived in south-eastern Mass. near the Rhode Island line ~ leaving home at 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday ( every three or four weeks during the winter when there was nothing else to do ) by way of Route 95 to 128 to Route 3, exiting at the Tyngsboro exit . . . . then up Daniel Webster Highway to the Green Ridge, arriving just before they opened at 11:30 a.m. We usually parked next the big sign, with revolving crowned-turkey on top, and up the ramp to wait on the bench for the door to open. Down the hall, towards the other entrance door, was a glass display case containing a huge white-feathered stuffed turkey with a miniature crown on its head ~ it was their logo ! The Charpentier family, owners-operators, always had a guest book in that long waiting-room hallway, and it was fun, before exiting, to flip the pages and see where visitors were from ! We would always stop in on our way back from trips to Lake Winnipesaukee, but made it a weekend jaunt during all seasons. After eating we stopped by Pheasant Lane Mall when it opened in the 1980s and beyond ~ returning home by way of country roads from Chelmsford to North Attleboro, then Route 152 to home !
We heard about its closing on Boston station Channel 5 ~ we went every weekend after that, for the next four or five weeks it remained open for business. The very last day it was open was on Saturday, December 2nd, 1995 ~ I took a menu as a souvenir ! On one of those last visits I parked across the road, before it opened at 11:30 a.m., and took pictures of the restaurant ~ then drove over and took a close-up of the revolving turkey ! I have that menu displayed in my home and not a day goes by that I don’t think of the Green Ridge and my great memories of the place !
anyone have the recipe for the turkey fricassee? It was the best on the planet!
Since my parents made it at home, and also owned and operated Green Ridge throughout my childhood, I can make a close guess at the recipe for Turkey Fricassé.
Please adjust as you will. I’m not a culinary professional! Raw white and dark turkey meat cut into bite- sized pieces; raw celery diced small – medium; small raw onion diced small, diced potatoes (optional); tarragon 1 tsp; ground black pepper and a little salt to taste,; enough safflower or canola oil to cook and avoid sticking. Cook covered over medium-low heat in a deeper- than- usual sauté pan, stirring to cook everything evenly.
I plan a NE trip as soon as the virus allows. I visited the restaurant in the 50’s…and the last time around 1968. Loved it. So sorry to hear that it is gone! For those of you in Calfornia…just off the 101 in Santa Rosa, about 50 miles north of San Francisco…there is the Willy Bird Turkey Farm’s restaurant…looks like an old fashioned “roadhouse” but serve delicious Turkey lunches and dinners year-round. Willy Birds are organic and free-range…a real treat to those of us in the area. Thanks to all who posted!!
I don’t know about the farm but my parents liked stopping to dine at the, either, Green Turkey or Green Ridge Turkey Restaurant that was locked either in Nashuah, NH, or very nearby, and I liked turkey meals, so this was a welcome treat. I don’t know what else the restaurant served for meats, but we went fo turkey and the meals were quite fine.. It was a large, spacious restaurant with fine meals, imo anyway.
Great memories of eating several delish turkey dinners there. I went there as a teen and later brought my family. If you are in California, visit Willy Bird store in Santa Rosa;
Thank you for the excellent article. Did your research discover who the Kimballs bought the manor house and 200 acres from? My Great Grandfather Duane Holt owned a farm near the intersection of Lowell Road (DW Highway) and Spitbrook Road. The description of the house meets your description of a “manor”. I’ve never been able to find any photographs of the farm or house.
Hi Scot – I didn’t go back to the history of the property before the Kimballs. I’ll keep that in mind for a future post. I’ve been interested in the history of that whole area for a while now.
There is much information on the Green Ridge restaurants over the years, but difficult to find information on the actual farm operations. My father worked on the farm and I’m curious about how all that was run. We have some old photos I’ll have to uncover to check the dates he worked there but I believe it was late 40’s to early 50’s.
Brenda Faber, Hi. I don’t know anything about the farm, but I do know that my parents, Vic and Anna Charpentier, bought Green Ridge Turkey Farm Restaurant in 1954. It had already been a restaurant before 1954, owned by Mr and Ms Flanders. I wish you well onyour search!
My memories brought me here. So great reading all the comments. I worked at the Steak House and the Turkey Farm back in the 70’s At the time Luc Charpentier had a culinary arts training program, and I signed up. We started on dishes and worked up to salads and prep while taking food safety courses and getting certified. I eventually worked every area of the kitchen, line, broiler, fry station, and back bench, but my favorite was working the salad bar. At the time two guys named Jimmy were the head chefs in each restaurant.
My last year there was spent in the bakery in the Turkey Farm helping a guy named Dave bake all the great pastries and cheesecakes and pies that they sold and served every day. At the holidays we would have orders of hundreds of pies to fill, all lovingly baked by hand. I think I may have worked with Anthony Cooper from this thread.There was a guy we called Cooper who worked the line at the steak house and was mostly on the broiler.
I don’t have a Facebook or I would join your page. Glad to see so many people still remember such a great place, and proud I was part of it for a while. Some of the folks I worked with I will never forget. We used to have after work staff parties at the Green Ridge Motor Lodge behind the steak house until they caught us and threw us out. I had a few at my apartment at the time. We were like a big family, and I think I remember Rita the waitress too.