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Trumbull Revisited

Trumbull Revisited

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Trumbull Revisited

181 página
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Lançado em:
Nov 3, 2014


Incorporated in 1797, Trumbull, Connecticut, developed from a collection of farms and settlements in the area north of Stratford. Trumbull s neighborhoods reflect the varied identities of these early settlements. The Nichols area features homes dating as far back as the establishment of the Farm Highway, which was laid out in 1696 and remains the third-oldest thoroughfare in the state. In the now-forested Pequonnock Valley, a 19th-century rail bed ambles past the foundations of wool mills, paper mills, and gristmills that served the community through the 1800s. That same rail line carried thousands of fun seekers to the picnic pavilions, toboggan slide, and other attractions of Parlor Rock Amusement Park in the late 1800s. Just to the west of the valley, a small, surviving triangle of the Long Hill Green marks an area that once buzzed with the production of shirts, cigars, and carriages. Today, Trumbull continues to rediscover itself and frequently receives accolades as one of the state s most desirable communities in which to live and raise a family.
Lançado em:
Nov 3, 2014

Sobre o autor

The Trumbull Historical Society, a group established in 1964, has compiled a rich collection of images that celebrates and remembers a bygone Trumbull, a Trumbull that will appeal to the imaginations of both the local citizens and its visitors.

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Trumbull Revisited - Trumbull Historical Society



The fascinating thing about the history of a place is that it reveals itself in small ways every day, despite the veil of suburban development. The town of Trumbull, Connecticut, founded in 1797, is no exception. The community’s origin as a loose collection of farms, factories, and villages remains ready to be rediscovered by anyone with an interest in exploring the past that lies just beneath the surface. If you are one of those people, we hope this book will help you on your quest.

Conceived as a companion to Images of America: Trumbull, published in 1997, Trumbull Revisited celebrates the settlements and farms that united to form Trumbull. Although the landscape has changed, their names live on: Nichols, Long Hill, Tashua, Chestnut Hill, Daniels Farm, and Trumbull Center, encompassing the White Plains. Each is celebrated with a chapter in this book, organized roughly in the order in which the area was settled, or, in the case of Daniels Farm and Chestnut Hill, the time period in which that area saw its most marked development. The ruggedly beautiful Pequonnock Valley, the site of much of the town’s industry in the 19th century, stands apart today as the town’s most precious natural resource. As such, it is the focus of its own chapter.

Many of these areas, now considered neighborhoods, developed more or less simultaneously. More than 100 years before its official incorporation, settlers from the coastal town of Stratford (originally called Cupheag) began surveying the forests to the north. Obtaining lands from the native Paugussett tribes, they established farms there. Abraham Nichols is credited with the first permanent settlement in 1690 in the area that bears his name.

By 1705, families were settling in Trumbull Center, and in 1725, they officially established the parish of Unity. Their first church, Unity Congregational Church, was built in 1730 near what is now the intersection of Unity and White Plains Roads.

At the same time, families were establishing themselves to the west in a place called Long Hill. In 1744, Long Hill and Unity joined together and became the Society of North Stratford. Mills were established along the Pequonnock River, land was cleared for farms, and homes and taverns built. It was not until after the American Revolution, however, that residents would petition for the establishment of a new town. On October 12, 1797, Trumbull—named for the family of the state’s colonial governor—was officially recognized by the state’s general assembly.

The new town, encompassing just over 23 square miles, got off to a modest start. In 1800, its population stood just shy of 1,300. Over the next 100 years, the population would grow by a mere 300 more residents. Yet the town was changing. Although farms made up much of the area, more mills and small factories appeared, churning out paper, carriages, glove linings, and cigars. Schoolhouses were built. A railroad was laid through the Pequonnock Valley, and beside it, railroad operators built Parlor Rock Amusement Park. Operating from 1878 to 1898, the park’s lakes, picnic areas, and other attractions drew as many as 3,000 visitors a day.

The 20th century brought greater changes. A flood in 1905 wiped out the last of the old mills, and by 1932, the railroad was abandoned. Within a few years, the Merritt Parkway would cut a swath through the southern part of town, bisecting old neighborhoods while at the same time creating a demand for new ones. As wartime industries flourished in nearby cities and, later, as servicemen returned home to start families, Trumbull’s open spaces beckoned. Between 1940 and 1970, the town’s population increased nearly sixfold. Farms and fields folded into housing developments, a regional shopping mall was built, and a new generation of modern schools opened their doors to Trumbull’s newest natives.

In the middle of all this progress, the Trumbull Historical Society was founded in 1964. These individuals recognized the danger the town’s rapid growth presented to Trumbull’s heritage. While the photographs in this book stand as a testament to the many changes the town has undergone, there were, nonetheless, some victories in the name of preservation. Standing out among them is the joint purchase in 1989 of the Pequonnock River Valley by the Town of Trumbull and the state Department of Environmental Protection as an open-space park. Another is the continued vitality of the Trumbull Historical Society, which continues its mission of celebrating Trumbull’s history through exhibits, education, and events geared to young and old.

Bringing Trumbull’s past alive for all those wishing to understand it is the mission of this book. It has been a daunting project, for recreating the history of a place through photographs—there are more than 200 in this book—is as difficult as it is intriguing. Many of the photographs passed hand to hand (and often generation to generation) before ending up in our collection have arrived unidentified, misidentified, and partially identified. In this book, we have done our best to confirm the identities of the people and places depicted in the photographs we have chosen. Where that was not possible, we have supplied bits of local lore and general information about the subject of those photographs and how they fit into the unfolding story of our town. Mysteries like these make compiling a book of this type frustrating but also fascinating. Most of all, it causes us to look at the ordinary scenery of our town with a new, more perceptive eye. It enables us to see things that more casual

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