Archive for the ‘Rocky Hill History’ Category

History of Rocky Hill Historical Society: First Fifty Years

October 22, 2012

John Serra, our hardworking treasurer and researcher, has written “History of the Rocky Hill Historical Society: The First Fifty Years (1962-2012)”, in observance of the society’s anniversary. The document lists the people who volunteered and the events that took place in Academy Hall Museum and also off site.

In 1970, for example, academy Hall was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. Eight women know as the Barbersharps sung patriotic songs. Historical society member from Huntington, Long Island traveled by canoe on the Connecticut River to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Many names and program titles can be found in the extensive history of our society.
(from the society’s newsletter; Jeff Gubala, Ed.)

The entire document can be read at the “John Serra: History…” in the “Pages” sidebar at the right.

A New History of Rocky Hill by Rafaele Fierro

July 3, 2012

Just published on the Wethersfield Historical Society website:

Rocky Hill: A History by Rafaele Fierro

It was only a matter of time. Rocky Hill citizens since the 1820s had been petitioning the Connecticut General Assembly to become a separate town. Now in 1843 the residents of Wethersfield’s “Lower Community,” known since 1722 as Stepney Parish, took up the issue anew but with more vigor and in more numbers. Town leader Elias W. Robbins led this local independence movement, which succeeded by June of 1843. Rocky Hill would be the new town’s official name and henceforth would become known as the “political daughter of Wethersfield” to its north. Rocky Hill was not unique in its quest for and success in separation. Two other towns–Glastonbury and Newington–also emerged from Wethersfield.

And today, out of the 169 incorporated towns in Connecticut, more than half were created when they split from their “mothers.” Indeed, between 1820 and 1850, the state’s General Assembly incorporated 13 new towns, including Rocky Hill, one steeped in tradition and history, and created as much by nature’s fury as by the power of Connecticut’s legislative body…(left Philip Goffe House)

Men like Goffe found the land appealing because it stood high above the river whose flood plains narrowed down, just south of the long hill for which the town would be named ultimately. And because it seemed logical to these early settlers to cross the river along this tapered stretch, they helped establish a transport service in 1655. Later known as the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury ferry service, it remains the oldest ferry service in the United States. The settlers also realized that the land could be used for building ships and farming. A classic riverport was about to be born.

(read the rest of this interesting history on the “Rafaele Fierro..” Page in sidebar at the right)

Dividend Pond Trails & Archeological District

May 25, 2012

Grand Opening: Dividend Pond Trails-Old Forge Road, Rocky Hill CT

In Memoriam: Peter John Revill

September 28, 2011

This memorial obituary is reprinted from Hartford Courant, September 22, 2011:

REVILL, Peter John 

Peter John Revill died on September 18. He was born in Wallington, Surrey, England on June 2, 1923, the son of Marion Peacock and John Stanley Revill. The family lived in Geneva, Switzerland for several years of his boyhood. They returned to England when he was 12 and made their home in London. Peter attended Raines Park County School, then received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Battersea Polytechnic Institute. He was employed by the Wandsworth Borough Council until he went to work as a civilian for the British Admiralty during World War II.

The Admiralty sent him to Arbroath, Scotland and to His Majesty’s Dockyard in Bermuda. In Bermuda, he met his future wife who was traveling on terminal leave from the U.S. Navy (WAVES). They spent the first year of their 64 year marriage in Bermuda.

When Peter’s term of service with the Admiralty was up, they moved to CT and Peter went to work for the Metropolitan District Commission in Hartford. There he worked in the Design division of the Water Bureau for 37 years, becoming Chief Design Engineer, until his retirement. The Revills lived in Newington and West Hartford before moving to Rocky Hill in 1959.

Peter took great pleasure in restoring and improving his home. The Revills had a vacation home in Rensselaerville, NY. Peter took a great interest in local history and land conservation. He was active in the Rocky Hill Historical Society for many years, serving as president and chairman of the restoration committee of Academy Hall. He served as chairman of the Land Management Committee of the Great Meadows Conservation Trust for several years, and he was an active member of the Building and Grounds Committee of the Unitarian Society of Hartford. In Rensselaerville, he worked in the Historic District Association.

Peter was predeceased by his twin brother Michael who died in infancy. He is survived by his wife Eleanor; daughter Barbara Lund of Bloomington IN; son Bill and his wife Carol of Meriden, CT; son Gregory of Salem, MA; grandchildren Sara Lund and her husband Aaron Beam of Portland, OR, Anders Lund and his wife Rana de Bey of Portland OR, Aaron Revill and his wife Heather of Middletown, Christopher Revill of Providence, RI and Madeleine Revill of Middleton, MA; and two great grandchildren, Niko Beam and Maianna Lund of Portland, OR.

There will be a memorial service at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, 50 Bloomfield Ave., Hartford on Friday, October 7 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in Peter’s memory may be made to the Betty Larus Adult Day Care Center, 705A New Britain Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106.

An online guest book has been established where you may leave remembrances about Peter Revill and convey your condolences to the family.


Events Planned for October at Rocky Hill Historical Society

September 25, 2011

Complete details about all of these events is on the page Upcoming Events…(please click link)

October 9, (Sunday) 2011

The Rocky Hill Historical Society is sponsoring a program on local farm implements on Sunday, October
9, 2011, at the Town Hall Fountain on Old Main St. in Rocky Hill…(complete details click here)

October 29, 2011
Tag Sale

The Rocky Hill Historical Society will be holding a tag sale on Saturday, October 29, 2011, at the
Academy Hall Museum at 785 Old Main St., in Rocky Hill, from 9:00am to 2:00 pm…(complete details click here)

October 30, 2011

From Hula Hoops to High Fashion: Hartford’s iconic G. Fox in the 1950’s…(complete details click here)

Shoes Hidden in Old Houses to Ward off Evil Spirits…

August 22, 2011

From our Inquiries from Readers page (received today)

Early 19th c Shoe (Concealment Piece)

Chris M. from Indiana writes:

I am a graduate student at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. As part of my Master’s thesis, I am researching objects deliberately concealed in buildings for good luck. I am particularly interested in the practice of concealing old shoes or boots in buildings, which seems to have been brought to the U.S. from Great Britain.

It is my understanding that a shoe was found in a house in Rocky  Hill, CT. I am trying to find out more about the shoe, where exactly it was found in the building, when it might have been concealed and by whom. If you know anything about this object or any other unusual objects found in the walls, ceilings, floors, or chimneys of other historic buildings in the area (horseshoes, old garments, bottles with unusual contents, strange animal remains, iron tools, coins, etc.), I would greatly appreciate it if you would contact me or forward my email to someone who may be able to help.

I look forward to your reply.

We replied:

“You are in luck as I was one of the persons finding the old shoe hidden as a “concealment piece” (as such things were then known) in the Rocky Hill home where I lived until ten years ago. The shoe was found some 15 years or so ago and after examining, photographing, and exhibiting it to society members we replaced the shoe behind the panelling next the hall fireplace where we found it. (see attached photo 18C Parlor…) The room in the photograph is actually what is known as the hall and the shoe was found behind the panelling near the upper left side of the hearth. The date of the house is c 1750; here is a view from 2006.
The shoe may be viewed in this composite view made in 2009. Other, more detailed views (you can enlarge the images for greater detail) are here,here,and here. If you learned about this shoe from these photos on the web then  you may already have seen them. The shoe is made of leather and is fastened together with wooden pegs.”
Her followup message:

…would it be possible to use the photos of the shoe and house in my thesis? If so, how would you like me to credit them?

“I also wanted to let you know that I sent the photos of the shoe to the cobbler at Colonial Williamsburg and he identified the shoe as a “man’s or boy’s, 1820s-40ish, round toed w/pegged repairs. Waxed-calf with “dog-leg” side seam.” Which is interesting because it post-dates the house, suggesting the shoe was concealed at a later date, perhaps during an episode of repair or remodeling.”

Save the Ferry Public Hearing Tonight!

August 22, 2011
Please  attend tonight!

DOT Public Information 
on the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry
August 22,  6:00 
RH Town Council Chambers
Written statements suggested.
Ed Chiucarello

CT DOT Announces Hearings on Ferry Closures – Rocky Hill on Aug 22 & Aug 25 at Chester

August 8, 2011


Please note: The location of the hearing in Rocky Hill will be posted as soon as we receive such information.

Save The Ferries Volunteers Needed

The Conn Department of Transportation is soliciting public comment & response to its proposal to close the Connecticut River ferries at Chester/Hadlyme and Rocky Hill/Glastonbury.

The public has two opportunities to make submissions to the DOT – (1) by mail and email, and (2) at public hearings scheduled for Aug 22 (at Rocky Hill) and Aug 25 (at Chester).
There will be a meeting of volunteers on Tuesday, Aug 9, at Hadlyme Public Hall at 7 PM to organize the community’s response to DOT’s request for submissions.
Volunteers are needed for many tasks in this effort.
This is an opportunity to make a contribution of your time to Save the Ferries.
If you can’t attend the meeting but would like to volunteer, please send an email to no later than Wednesday 10 August. Please include in the email your phone number and preferred return email address

If You Don’t Have Time To Volunteer ….

 ….. Please Send DONATION$$
Hadlyme Hall’s effort to prevent the closing of the Connecticut River ferries has cost more than $1,500 so far, and expenses are continuing to increase. Please consider sending a donation to help in covering these costs.
Make checks out to: Hadlyme Public Hall
Send to:  Save the Ferry Fund
PO Box 25
Hadlyme, CT 06439 

Please forward this email to friends and/or neighbors who might be interested in giving either of their time or a donation.

Thank You

(You may receive this message more than once. If so, please accept our apologies. We have not had time to purge our email lists of duplicates.)

Humphrey S. Tyler

401 Joshuatown Road
PO Box 430
Hadlyme CT 06439
Phone: 860-322-4021
Mobile: 518-253-4844

Here is text of hearing announcement for Chester on Aug 25:

Public Information Meeting August 25

Chester-Hadlyme Ferry Service closure

The Connecticut Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting to discuss the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry closure. This closure has been necessitated by the state budget crisis.  The public is invited to listen to a brief presentation about the ferry service and will be allowed make brief statements, which may include ideas and thoughts that may assist the Department regarding strategies for ferry service and operation.

August 25, 2011; 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

The Chester Meeting House

4 Liberty Street

Chester, CT

Free parking is available.

This facility is ADA accessible. Individuals requesting language assistance or accommodations due to a disability may contact the communications office at (860) 594-3061; or (860) 594-3090 (TTY).  For consideration your request should be submitted 7 days prior to the event. The department will make every reasonable effort to provide assistance when possible.

(Urgent!) Volunteers Needed to Distribute Fliers at Rocky Hill Ferry Landing.

August 6, 2011

Ed  Chiucarello is coordinating the efforts to “Save Our Ferry”. This weekend’s action is to pass out fliers at the ferry landing. Volunteers needed today (Aug 6) for 12-1, 1-2, and 2-3 time slots and tomorrow (Sunday Aug 7) for the 3-4 and 4-5 periods. Contact Ed at <>.

Credit Sean Conor Rocky Hill Patch - Rocky Hill Ferry Landmark

Rocky Hill – Glastonbury Ferry Shuts Down (Forever?)

July 16, 2011

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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