Hugh’s personal connection to nature runs deep and has imbued his company with an environmental consciousness and strong sense of how sustainability impacts the built environment. As a Passive House Institute U.S. certified builder, and with multiple members of the team qualified as LEED Green Associates, Hugh Lofting Timber Framing wears its commitment proudly.
Hugh’s story begins in rural Pennsylvania in the 1930s, when his maternal grandparents bought historic Inverbrook Farm in West Marlborough. Hugh’s parents split time between Inverbrook and property in Montana. Today, Hugh and his wife call the farm home. There’s a hybrid of old and new at play; a modern solar array, juxtaposed with an organic vegetable garden, and free-range chickens and turkeys. Hugh grew up amidst the family farm, stories of his father’s trips to Montana, and the sprawling 10,000 acres of nearby King Ranch.
Driving through the property that was once King Ranch’s Pennsylvania territory spans five townships; Hugh knows them like an old friend. “My dad had a cowboy period in the 1940s when he worked for Mr. Kleberg,” Hugh explains. Robert Kleberg and the King Ranch family owned and leased property where the Texas-based ranch brought its Santa Gertrudis steer annually to the Buck and Doe Run Valleys. The Pennsylvania outpost of King Ranch boasted the East Coast’s “finishing school for cattle,” a spectacle of cattle exiting special trains to spend the summers grazing in Chester County. It left an impact on Hugh.
“I grew up with all of this – surrounded by the King Ranch, living on the family farm, and hearing my dad talk about Montana,” explained Hugh. “But it wasn’t until I went out to Montana when I was nine years old that I fell in love with it all. I wanted to be a cowboy.”
When he went to college at Montana State University, Hugh describes, he dabbled in rodeo, studied agriculture, and worked at a guest ranch, where owner William (Bill) Potter became a mentor in life and work. “He became my hero; he would take acres of bug-kill trees the loggers didn’t want and turn them into paper pulp or mulch,” Hugh remembers. This resourcefulness and ability to make the most of what you have wasn’t lost on Hugh, who saw the efforts as both supporting nature and self.
Perhaps apropos to this part of his story, Hugh slows down his truck to observe a fallen tree limb. “That’s oak,” he says. “I should come back and get that.”