Local Trail Highlight: Chatfield Hollow State Park
Chatfield Hollow Brook in Chatflield Hollow State Park flows toward Long Island Sound between two high ridges covered with oak, beech, and hickory.
In 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps built an earth and stone dam across the brook, creating seven acre Schreeder Pond. Pines planted at the same time now form a green setting around the pond. In pre-Colonial times, Indians frequented the valley in considerable numbers for purposes of fishing and hunting.
Many artifacts found in the vicinity of Indian Council Caves indicated that Native Americans sought refuge in the jagged ledges and held tribal gatherings amid the rock recesses and overhangs. An Indian trail paralleled the brook, winding through the trees and along what is now the park road.
Early settlers made use of the stream for water power. Descendants of three Chatfield brothers, who arrived from England about 1639, were believed to have operated a gristmill along the brook. Occasional chunks of oddly shaped metal fragments found near the watercourse are evidence that an iron smelting furnace worked native ores into metal for implements. Other reminders of early history include several old building foundations, a restored waterwheel on the upper pond, and the covered bridge reproduction spanning Chatfield Hollow Brook.
From Route 9: take Exit 9. Follow Route 81 south to Route 80 west and watch for park entrance signs.
From I-95: take Exit 63. Follow Route 81 north to Route 80 west.
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