Chuck Kuhn, founder and CEO of JK Moving Services, and his wife Stacy Kuhn, have come to terms on a purchase of White’s Ferry, the family announced Friday afternoon.
Established in 1786, the ferry across the Potomac River near Leesburg ceased operation in December following a years-long legal battle over the operator’s rights to use the Loudoun County landing at Rockland Farm. Kuhn will be working with Peter Brown, the majority owner of Rockland Farm, in an effort to get the ferry reopened to the nearly 800 daily users, according to the announcement.
“White’s Ferry represents a piece of our region’s past as an early commerce route that built and sustained local economies and remains so today,” said Kuhn, whose family in recent year has acquired and placed conservation easements on thousands of acres of rural and environmentally significant land. “This fits with my family’s interest in conserving land and history as well as supporting business and the local communities. White’s Ferry has provided an important and scenic transportation alternative to the swelling demands on our local roads.”
Kuhn finalized the purchase terms on Thursday.
The purchase includes the ferry, the store, and the Maryland shoreline that supports the ferry operation. The family plans to move ahead repairs to the ferry and property immediately and replacement cables are on site to fix the ferry following December storm damage. The cables will be installed as soon as terms are negotiated with Rockland Farm to resume operations on the Virginia landing.
The goal is to purchase the Virginia land site or negotiate a permanent easement with Rockland Farm so that the ferry may continue in perpetuity. The ferry can be operational within seven days of being granted Virginia shore rights, according to the announcement.
“The previous owners of White’s Ferry have done a remarkable job serving the community,” Kuhn stated. “They have sold the ferry with the hopes that we would have a better chance of opening the ferry than he did. We look forward to bringing a fresh perspective to the ferry, enhancing the experience for riders and making a number of upgrades to the store.”
The Kuhns will begin working with the Coast Guard, Loudoun County, Montgomery County and the owner Rockland Farm to open the ferry. The Kuhns plan to make a number of upgrades to the ferry over the next few years, bringing more operational and environmental efficiencies to improve services and preserve a piece of history.
Other recent investments made by the Kuhn family include: the purchase of the Westpark golf course property in Leesburg with the intention of placing 135 of those acres into a conservation easement for a park and to protect the open space from future development; partnering with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy to buy and place into conservation easement an 87-acre parcel of land in northern Loudoun County called Stumptown Woods that has more native species of plants and wildlife indigenous to Loudoun and Virginia than is typical; starting the JK Community Farm, a charitable effort designed to alleviate hunger by growing and harvesting crops and livestock and donating them to local foodbanks, on 150 acres of conserved land near Purcellville; the purchase of the Middleburg Training Center, which was placed into conservation easement and is now fully renovated; and purchasing and placing several thousand acres near Loudoun’s historic villages into easement, including Egypt Farm, which had been previously owned by developers, the historic Wolver Hill farm in Middleburg, and recently three farms outside the town of Waterford.
JK Moving Services is the largest independently owned and operated moving company in North America and employs nearly 1,100 people.