Rocky Hill – Glastonbury Ferry Shuts Down (Forever?)


Connecticut River Ferry Rocky Hill a video by Steadyjohn on Flickr.

A short 2009 video of the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry in operation

Reposted from Rocky Hill Patch:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget balancing plan confirmed what many people already knew that the ferry services would be cut to help balance the $1.6 billion deficit.

In Malloy’s plan, all eight employees of the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury and Hadlyme-Chester ferries would be laid off and services would be eliminated. The plan said the seasonal ferry service is a “convenience for residents in these areas” and there are year round alternatives available.

By eliminating the employees and the service, the state would save $377,634 in 2012 and $473,627 in 2013.

The Rocky Hill Ferry was closed Friday, due to staffing issues, Department of Transportation Spokesman Kevin Nursick said. However, people still came to Ferry Park to see if they could take a ride across the river.

Sara Weeden was hoping to take her daughter, Gwendlyn, on the ferry for only the second time in her life when she found out the news.

“I’m just surprised that they would do that,” Sara Weeden said. She added that her daughter enjoyed riding the ferry.

“It is a nice treat,” Sara Weeden said.

She added that on Wednesday, the last day the ferry was open, there was a line of cars backed up on Great Meadow Road.

The Rocky Hill Ferry was the nation’s oldest continuously operating ferry service. It traveled the Connecticut River from Rocky Hill to Glastonbury and back. The original ferry, just a small raft pushed across the river with the help of long poles, dates back to 1655. Privately operated for 260 years, it became a state facility in 1915 and had been operating until now by the State Department of Transportation.

Credit: Sean Conor,Rocky Hill Patch - Rocky Hill Ferry Landmark

Update July 17, Hartford Courant reporting: (also see AP report on CT CBS)
…John Serra, who works at the Rocky Hill Historical Society, said the ferry was once a financial lifeline for the town and has evolved into a social hub.”It was really the center of town,” Serra said.A stack of papers in a small library above the historical society includes a jumble of photos, newspaper clippings and historical documents chronicling the development of the ferry beginning in 1655, 121 years before the Declaration of Independence…

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2 Responses to “Rocky Hill – Glastonbury Ferry Shuts Down (Forever?)”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Is there anywhere to send a letter or sign a petition to keep this ferry going?

  2. steadyjohn Says:

    There are persons and groups working on this. It would be important to contact state representatives and urge them NOT to repeal existing state law mandating state operation of the ferries at Rocky Hill and Chester:

    Sec. 13a-252. Certain ferries to be operated by state. Fees. Rocky Hill ferry deemed a state historic structure. (a) The ferries crossing the Connecticut River, known as the Rocky Hill ferry and the Chester and Hadlyme ferry, shall be maintained and operated by the Commissioner of Transportation at the expense of the state. The rates of toll or the charges to be made for travel upon said ferries shall be fixed by the commissioner with the approval of the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. The commissioner may establish a discounted commuter rate for travel upon said ferries.

    (b) All expense of maintenance, repairs and operation of said ferries shall be paid by the Comptroller on vouchers of the commissioner. The commissioner shall include in his report to the General Assembly a report of the receipts and expenditures incidental to the control and maintenance of said ferries. Said Rocky Hill ferry shall be maintained as a state historic structure and shall be so marked with an appropriate plaque by the commissioner in cooperation with the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

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