Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hartford Turnpike

Through the hundreds of documents and maps that were sifted through while researching our home, the one lingering (of many) facts there were hard to find was our home's prior addresses.  It seems that addresses back in the 18th century were more of common knowledge of those that lived here.  Meaning, until the advent of the postal system, a person's address was more of, "o'er yer yonder", or perhaps, "a quarter mile on the right past the ol' tree".

The only potential address information I could find were street names.  I obviously know what street I live on now, but asking Town Hall of prior street names was like asking my wife's cat where he hid our sock.  

We searched through dozens of maps from online sources and the local libraries.  Eventually, I came across a map that showed a turnpike running the route of where our street is today.  The map was from the middle of the 19th century.  Apparently, it was also a major thoroughfare from Hartford southward towards Middletown.  The map titled the route the Hartford-Middletown Turnpike.  But, it was the only map to show such a route that I've ever come across.

While at Town Hall questioning her sanity, my wife met a knowledgeable police officer who knew of a stone tablet on our street that he said depicted our street's original name.  When he told her this, the snow covered land was prohibiting any such search for this tablet.  Though each time we passed around that area in our cars, we did a quick look where he had suggested, but hadn't seen it.  I kept imagining this marblesque horizontally laid, square placard chipped away by years of neglect, partially covered by overgrown grass, perhaps even cut in two like so many old tombstones in forgotten cemeteries.  

Today, we found it!  And, I was completely incorrect with the visual description.  I must say, it is in a state of great preservation and well maintained by the owners of the contemporary home which was built near it.

Hartford Turnpike, Mile 6, Runs to Saybrook, 35 Miles, Granted 1802

This monolithic stone epitaph stands approximately three to four feet tall with a bush behind it and mulch directly surrounding it.  It's located roughly a quarter mile from the border of Rocky Hill and Wethersfield on the East side of Old Main Street.

Well, there you have it, our official "Street Sign".