Parts of the Holt Research Forest property were farmed from the late 1600's to the 1940's (Moore and Witham 1996). Aerial photos from 1940 on show a distinct difference in forest stand types along an old east-west fence line. Remnants of stone walls, building foundations, and wire fencing are still visible. This former property line divides the area into north and south halves. William and Winifred Holt bought the south farm in 1941 and the north farm in 1946. Over the next four decades, land management was minimal. Dr. Holt planted some white pines and removed some dead and dying trees.
In 1983 the Holts offered the use of the property to the University of Maine for research, under the auspices of the Holt Woodlands Research Foundation. The Foundation constructed a research facility on the site of an abandoned well and cellar hole. The main building was built from white pines harvested from the Holt Forest. Work began in earnest in pursuit of forest management and research goals.