Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Home Town In Connecticut

Linda and I recently traveled to the east coast for my 50th high school reunion, so of course I explored my home town.  As expected, a lot has changed, but some things that are important to me haven't changed too much.  My home town is Sandy hook, Connecticut which is a borough of Newtown.  I graduated from Newtown High School, so in a sense, Newtown is also my home town. One of the first things you notice about Connecticut when you arrive from the west is all the trees. Everything is almost overwhelmingly green.
This was the house where I grew up in Sandy Hook.  In those days, this was J Appleseed Farm, and we had  a big apple orchard.  In fact, I have heard it was the biggest golden delicious orchard in the state at the time. The apple trees are gone now, but the house, built in 1742, and barn are still there.
This used to be Warner Store, or simply the Brick Store, and my family did most of our shopping here.  It was the centerpiece of the tiny town of Sandy Hook. It was run by my Godfather, Hawley Warner and now has been beautifully restored and turned into a restaurant. I got a tour by Michael Porco, the current owner. The Hook has really been dressed up and is a beautiful community now.
This is the main crossroad in Newtown, and it is famous for its flagpole in the center of the intersection. It makes for tricky driving, but is a magnificent sight. The church is now known as the Meeting House, but I was a member there when it was a Congregational Church. I once worked at the "Flagpole Fountain", a sort of 1950's C-Store that was located in the building on the right.
This is the center of Newtown from Castle Hill, showing (left to right) the new Congregational Church, flagpole, Meeting House, and Episcopal Church.  This scene showcases the beauty of New England architecture and trees stretching to the horizon.  I feel fortunate to have grown up in such a wonderful place, but now I am a westerner at heart.


  1. I also grew up in Newtown--late 60s/early 70s, and I too was a member of the Congregational Church - as it seemed half the town was. Paul Cullen was larger than life. I lived in Dodgingtown though, a long way from Sandy Hook. My mom taught at Sandy Hook Elementary School for 12 of the 20 years she taught in Newtown.

    The view of Newtown from Castle Hill has always struck me as one of the most breathtakingly beautiful sights anywhere. Many times on my bicycle I'd stop on Castle Hill Road and just stare at the view in your picture. (And catch my breath, if I was trying to pedal my single speed Schwinn Typhoon UP Castle Hill.)

    You've done well capturing the images of Newtown, but try and explain to someone how such a thickly forested, rural small town could be barely an hour from New York City. What a beautiful oasis Newtown has always been.

  2. I tried to reply to this just after you made your comment, but it looks like it disappeared. My apologies. Thank you for sharing your memories. I too used to ride my bike all over town, especially to the Glen and Fairfield Hills. My brother and I swam at Curtis Pond daily in the summer, and now it looks completely unused. I attended Sandy Hook Elementary School the first year it opened, in 7th grade. It was a great place to grow up.

  3. Just fyi, I found your beautiful photo of the view from Castle Hill on Google, and I have credited it on my blog post about a current effort to preserve the former Gretsch property on Castle Hill. The Newtown Forest Association is trying to purchase the land to permanently preserve it.