Entire contents copyrighted 2005 by Jack Sanders. Reproduction without permission is forbidden.
Lacha Linne is a
name applied to Hopper's Pond, which is just north of the intersection of South
Salem and Old South Salem Roads.
The name is
Gaelic for "duck pond" and ducks have for years inhabited and still do
inhabit the pond, along with lots of duckweed. Now owned by the James M.
Blackwells, the pond has been called Lacha Linne for many years by owners,
although some oldtimers still prefer to call it Hopper's Pond (q.v.) after a man
who lived nearby in the 1920's. "Lacha Linne" may have been chosen by
Reginald Lewis, a former owner of the pond, or by Robert P. Scripps (see Scripps
which runs off Copps Hill Road to Washington Street, recalls the Marquis de
Lafayette, who accompanied General George Washington, Col. Alexander Hamilton
and others from New Jersey to Hartford in September 1780. The group stopped in
Ridgebury for the night of Sept. 19-20, staying at various houses and taverns
near the Ridgebury Congregational Church.
road name does not use the French nobleman's full name. Marie Joseph Paul Yves
Roch Gilbert du Motier Lafayette was born in 1757. He was a captain in a dragoon
regiment at Metz when, in the summer of 1776, he heard that the American
colonies had declared their independence. He immediately decided to aid them and
secretly obtained a ship in which he, the Baron de Kalb and 10 other officers
set sail, eluding officers sent to prevent his departure.
He fought in many
battles, was injured at Brandywine while rallying the retreating Americans, and
was one of the members of the court which tried and convicted Major John Andre
(whom Lt. Joshua King of King Lane [q.v.] had guarded till his hanging).
After the war
both Washington and Congress heartily thanked him for his services to the
nation. He returned to France, where he was a major general and where he served
in many military and government positions through times of turmoil and of peace,
and was once jailed for five years. In 1824, he made a triumphant return visit
to this country and was so popular that Congress voted him a grant of $200,000
and a whole township of land. He died in 1834 in France.
Once of his sons,
incidentally, was named George Washington Lafayette.
was developed and named by the late William T. Peatt Sr. as part of Peatt Park.
Ridgefield Lakes were subdivided for summer camps in the 1920's, maps gave the
new, man-made lakes numbers instead of names, and to this day deeds for
properties at the large development often refer to the lakes by numbers.
Lake Number One
is now commonly called Wataba or Rainbow Lake.
Lake Number Two
is a small body of water on the north side of Fox Hill Lake, just north of
Bennett's Farm Road. It has little water and apparently no common name.
Lake Number Three
was not developed and today is just a creek and a drawing on old maps. In fact,
portions of it were subdivided and now have houses where water was to be. The
planned lake was west of Lakeside Drive, north of Mountain Road, and east of
Bennett's Farm Road.
Lake Number Four
is Fox Hill Lake.
Lake Road is a
small loop road off Mountain Road at the west end of Rainbow Lake. It is one of
the many private roads at the Ridgefield Lakes.
Lakeland Hills is
a subdivision of 27 lots obtained in 1954 by Harold Goldsmith for about 30 acres
on the north side of Bennett's Farm Road, opposite the Ridgebury School site.
includes Skytop Road, Douglas Lane, and North Shore Drive.
The name refers
to the hills to the north and to Lake Windwing, which Mr. Goldsmith created on
the east side of the subdivision.
Lakeview Drive is
another of the many narrow private roads at the Ridgefield Lakes. It runs from
Great Hill Road south to Highview Road generally along the east shore of Fox
Lakeview Road is
a name that has been used for two roads in the past, but none today.
In the early
1900's, the name was applied - perhaps casually - to Tackora Trail because of
its view of Lake Mamanasco. (In those days of farming, there weren't nearly as
many trees which today block the view of the lake.)
For a while in
the 1960's, the name was also used for Bayberry Hill Road, from Branchville Road
to the loop, because it overlooked John's Pond to the north. The name was
changed because of confusion with already existing Lakeside Drive about four
which extends from George Washington Highway to Sophia Drive, is named for the
late Dr. Francis Ward Langstroth, whose farm became the Scodon subdivision,
which includes this road.
who had been a physician on Long Island, came to Ridgefield in 1922, buying the
79-acre farm of Alexander Baylis of New York City. He did not practice medicine
here and for most of his days was retired, although he did raise Irish setters.
He was a frequent
speaker at town meetings and would sometimes deliver "fiery" orations,
according to one oldtimer.
While here he
married Sophia Langstroth, for whom Sophia Drive is named.
and his wife moved to Florida in the 1950's and he died around 1960. His wife
remarried and was known as Sophia L. Kearney until her death in the early 1970's
in St. Petersburg.
The road was
built in the 1960's by subdividers Carleton A. Scofield and Judge Joseph H.
Donnelly (whence the name, Scodon). It is sometimes incorrectly spelled
recalls something that never existed.
When Robert E.
Roache subdivided this tract off Limekiln Road, he had a pair of pillars erected
at the end of the road with the intention of putting lanterns on them - adding a
bit of "class" to the subdivision's entrance.
either never got around to installing them or he feared the lanterns would be
stolen or vandalized. At any rate, the lanterns never appeared, even though the
brick pillars are probably wired for them.
Mr. Roache, who
had a reputation for building good houses and who later moved to Carefree,
Ariz., called the subdivision Lantern Hills. It was developed around 1962 and
the road accepted by the town in 1963.
Perhaps the name
should have been changed to Pillar Place.
Court was the original name proposed for Ives Court off Pine Mountain Road. The
name was abandoned because of confusion with other "laurel" roads
Laurel Hill Road
is a dead-end lane running off lower Florida Road. It was probably developed by
William Maki around 1951, for a map filed then shows it labeled "new
road," as yet unnamed, as part of his property. The name was in use by
The road is named
for the state flower, the mountain laurel, which grows aplenty there and
throughout the wooded sections of town.
(Kalmia latifolia) has been called the most beautiful American shrub. "It's
fragrant and the massed richness of its white and pink blossoms so vividly
contrast with the darker colors of the forests and fields that they have
continually attracted the attention of travelers since the earliest days of our
colonization," one authority wrote.
evergreen plant is common here, it is illegal to pick it.
Laurel Lane, a
short, dead-end road off upper Route 7 (where Ullman Devices company is in
2005), is but a vestige of what it used to be.
The road, which
once connected Ridgefield with the Starr's Plain hamlet of southern Danbury, was
identified in town records as early as 1828 when a perambulation of the town
line notes that the corner boundary marker (for Ridgefield, Redding and Danbury)
stood "in the highway about 50 rods west of Starr's Plain Burying
Ground." The highway is Laurel Lane, which then continued eastward to join
Starr's Plain and Starr's Ridge Roads. It was apparently a fairly important
route because Starr's Plain was a fairly well-developed commercial village by
the 19th Century.
The road is shown
as going to Starr's Plain as late as 1936 and even one 1960's map shows it as a
through road, although it has not been used as such for many years.
The road is named
for the shrub, which may have been planted there as part of the Outpost
Nurseries stock, or which simply grew wild there. The name was in use as early
as 1936 when the nursery - with offices nearby on Route 7 - were still thriving.
Lawson Lane, a
private way at Casagmo, is one of several thoroughfares there that were named
for the ancestors or family of Mary L. B. Olcott, the last resident of the
Casagmo mansion that preceded the apartment/condominium complex. David L. Paul,
builder of the apartments, picked the names, apparently at random, from a
genealogy published by Miss Olcott in 1954.
with Lawson is somewhat remote, and apparently is to the family of one John
Lawson of Ireland, who came to the United States in the mid-1800's. His son,
Robert (1828-1904), the most notable of the clan in the genealogy, was a
merchant in New York City and operated Lawson Brothers, importers of fine laces
and curtains. He probably never set foot in Ridgefield, yet a name recalls him
or his family.
Ledges Road is
one of the oldest roads in the northern part of town and existed certainly by
1800, and probably long before.
referred to are the Asproom or Great Ledges, mentioned as early as 1753
("Great Ledges") in a deed. They are the steep hillside on the north
side of the road, which was being called "Ledge Road" as early as
1909, according to an old property survey.
Ledges Road was
one of the last of the old roads in town to be paved, and it was a dirt-surfaced
highway until around 1967.
Lee Lane was an
early 20th Century name for the present-day Wheeler Road in Ridgebury. It was
so-called because the Lee sisters lived in a house at the corner of the road and
Spring Valley Road. The house was later owned for many years by Mr. and Mrs.
John N. Wheeler, whence the modern name.
Lee Road, once
part of Farmingville Road, is an old highway whose name recalls a family that
lived and owned land in Farmingville for more than two centuries. Only one
member of the family still lives there, though dozens of Lees were born and grew
up in Farmingville.
The name applies
today to the road that extends from Farmingville Road to Limekiln Road. This was
once the route of Farmingville Road, skirting the north side of the main body of
Great Swamp and laid out early in the 18th Century. It became its
"own" road in 1914 when the town built the straight section of
Farmingville Road across the swamp from Lee Road to Limekiln and Blackman Roads.
The Lee family in
Ridgefield history predates the founding of the town itself. In 1697, 11 years
before the town's settlement, William Lees I (1655-1741) was one of the Norwalk
residents who petitioned the General Assembly to allow the creation of
Ridgefield. Although he probably visited the town, William Lees never lived
His son, Joseph
Lees, came to Ridgefield and bought the Matthew Saintjohn homestead on Main
Street in 1723. In 1734, he was buying land on Grassy Island near Farmingville,
but by 1737 he had moved to Salisbury in northwestern Connecticut.
The founder of
the Ridgefield Lee clan was William Lee II (1710-1785), half brother of Joseph
and perhaps the first to drop the "s" from Lees. In 1762, he bought 92
acres and a house in Farmingville from John and Ruth Lobdell. This land,
probably along Lee Road, was the beginning of acquisitions by the Lee farming
amounting to hundreds of acres in Farmingville over the next century.
In the years that
followed, dozens of Lees lived in Farmingville, where they were, as their
district's name suggestions, chiefly farmers. Their ranks included William,
founder of the clan, who operated a noted saw mill in Farmingville as early as
1767; John and Daniel, who had a grist mill near today's Stonehenge Inn;
Chapman, who had a cider mill at Farmingville; William (1844), Aaron, and Edwin
Lee, who operated limekilns in the area; Aaron W. Lee, first selectman in 1880
and 1881; and Fred C. Lee, who held the same office in 1893.
Aaron W. Lee was
one of many Ridgefielders injured in the Civil War. He, Henry W. Keeler, Jacob
Austin, Lawrence Carney, John H. Harrington, Edwin D. Pickett (see Pickett's
Ridge Road), Warren Rufus, Joseph S. Whitlock, and Nephi Whitlock (see Whitlock
Lane), were all wounded on July 1, 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg. Carney,
Pickett and Joseph Whitlock died from their wounds.
When he returned
from the war, Aaron Lee helped establish the Grand Army Post here and suggested
that it be named in memory of Edwin Pickett, who died next to him in a trench.
(Neither Pickett nor the others at Gettysburg were the first Ridgefielders to
give their lives in the Civil War; Henry Keeler was killed in the bloody battle
of Antietam Sept. 17, 1862, only six weeks after he enlisted.)
One of the last
of the Ridgefield Lees still bearing the family name was Robert Aaron Lee, son
of Fred C. Lee and grandson of Aaron W. Lee. Mr. Lee lived in Greenwich in his
later years, but kept property in Farmingville until his death in 1982 at the
age of 94. He left Ridgefield as a permanent residence in 1903, but frequently
visited the town and was a director of the Ridgefield Savings Bank (now
Ridgefield Bank) for many years.
daughter, Barbara Johnson, still lives on Lee family land along New Road. She is
the last person still living in Farmingville to have borne the Lee name.
Sadly, the last
person to bear the Lee name in Farmingville was convicted in the mid-1980's of
murdering an acquaintance. The killing, which took place in the Lee family
homestead, reportedly resulted from a dispute over a drugs. William Lee,
grandson of Robert A. Lee, was convicted and sent to prison.
which extends from Shadow Lane to Golf Lane, is part of the Ridgefield Manor
Estates, and is named for Frederic Elliott Lewis, who built the huge mansion and
estate there early in the 20th Century.
Mr. Lewis, a
wealthy man said to have been an oil or coal executive, was living in Tarrytown,
N.Y., when in 1908 he bought 100 acres and buildings on and near West Lane from
Henry B. Anderson. He tore down Anderson's house and reportedly spent several
million dollars to build his own mansion and to landscape the property with
exotic trees and shrubs - many of which still live on the lawns of Manor
Mr. Lewis, who
died around 1925, was never active in the community, but his wife, a member of
the Russell family that established the National City Bank in New York City,
was. She founded the Red cross unit here and was for 31 years vice president of
the District Nursing Association.
Both of the Lewis
sons, Reginald and Wadsworth, maintained homes here, the former on South Salem
Road and the latter, on Great Hill Road. Wadsworth R. Lewis, who died in 1942,
left the bulk of his estate in a trust fund that benefits many civic and
charitable endeavors in town.
The story of this
property will be told in more detail under Ridgefield Manor Estates.
Lewis Drive began in the mid-1950's after the mansion was razed, but the road
wasn't accepted as a town road until 1969. The older houses toward the eastern
end had been used for servants and other caretakers on the Lewis estate.
Lewisboro is the
only border town whose name has not found its way into the geography of
Ridgefield. But because part of Lewisboro was once within Ridgefield, its name
should be noted here.
Salem, present-day Lewisboro was once one town with North Salem. Later, after
North Salem became its own entity, the town became known as Lower Salem, a name
changed in 1840 to Lewisboro to honor John Lewis, who had contributed much money
to support the town's schools. The word "Lewisboro" first appears in
the Ridgefield land records in 1842.
South Salem - the
locality mentioned in South Salem Road - is a hamlet within the town of
Lewisboro, as are Vista, Cross River, and Goldens Bridge.
Library Hill is
an informal name applied to western Prospect Street, chiefly in the first
quarter of the 20th Century. It was so called because the Ridgefield Library,
built in 1901, is at the "top" of the hill at Main Street.
Murphy of Salem, N.Y., sold Jonathan Ingersoll six acres in 1763, he described
it as "lying in Ridgefield at Lime Kiln, so called."
applied as if it were a geographical district (such as Flat Rock, Limestone or
Ridgebury), never appears again in the land records. It may have been a very
localized term, used only by a few people,
and which never caught on.
The name probably
applied to the neighborhood of Limekiln Hill, which was west of High Ridge at
the west ends of Barry Avenue and Ramapoo Road. On the north side of Ramapoo
Road stood for many years a limekiln that was perhaps the first and biggest in
town. It will be discussed under Limekiln Hill.
is an early 20th Century and possibly late 19th Century term for the
intersection of Lee and Limekiln Roads.
This junction was
originally a bend - or corner - on Farmingville Road until 1914 when the
straight path of Farmingville Road through Great Swamp was built to bypass this
At the northwest
corner of this junction of Lee and Limekiln Roads, a limekiln stood, probably
built and operated by the Lee family. Limestone for it probably came from
Limestone Hill or Mine Hill to the north.
consisted of a furnace for heating up and converting limestone (calcium
carbonate) to lime (calcium oxide) by driving out water. Lime was used for many
purposes, including the manufacture of plaster, mortar and fertilizer.
Limekiln Hill, a
name not used in nearly two centuries, was once commonly applied to the four-way
intersection of Barry Avenue, Ramapoo road, West Mountain Road, and Peaceable
Ridge Road, near which a large limekiln operated for many years.
The first mention
of a limekiln in Ridgefield occurs in 1742 when Joshua Lobdell gives his son,
Caleb, 10 acres "at Chesnut Ridge near ye lime pit or kill, so
A year later, the
Annual Town Meeting in December voted that "a highway (be) laid out,
beginning at ye road leading from ye Limekiln to Bedford Road near ye south end
of Burr's (Burt's) Blacksmith Ridge ..." Bedford Road was today's South
Salem and Old South Salem Roads; the road to it was probably Peaceable Hill and
Ridge Roads, which led to Peaceable Street which in turn connected to Old South
Salem Road near the New York State line. Both references are probably to the
In 1751, Silas
Keeler sold the Rev. Jonathan Ingersoll land that was "west of ye Town
Platt (the village), ye east part of it lying west of ye High Ridge and near by
it, beginning at ye foot of said ridge or hill and runs west to Limekiln Hill so
called." This seems to be in the same neighborhood as the two earlier
After its first
mention, the term Limekiln Hill shows up fairly frequently in the land records
until late in the 18th Century. Its last appearance was in a 1792 deed.
The origin of the
limekiln on the hill is unclear; its builder and its first operator has not been
discovered. By 1821, what appears to be the same limekiln - or at least one on
the same site - was being operated by Joel Gilbert. In 1836, after Joel Gilbert
had died, Jared Mead paid $2,243 for Gilbert's homestead and his "limekills
and rock." Later still, Russell Canfield operated the kiln and according to
historian George L. Rockwell, "at this kiln 10 cords of wood were burned (a
day) ... Lime was carted as far as Stamford and Greenwich from this
The kiln or
furnace was situated on the northerly side of Ramapoo Road, a little west of
Mulberry Street. At the suggestion of this writer, Kiln Hill Lane off Barry
Avenue was named for this site.
Limekiln Road, an
old highway extending between Farmingville and Haviland Roads, certainly existed
by 1856 when it appears on the first map of the town, and probably dates back at
least a century earlier, perhaps to the 1730's.
under Limekiln Corner, the lower end of the road - between Lee and Farmingville
Roads - was originally part of Farmingville Road.
used to be, probably chiefly in the 18th Century, part of a shortcut to the
northeastern part of town. Travelers from the village to Danbury could go up
Danbury Road to the vicinity of Fox Hill Village, then turn eastward over
Norrins Ridge to the vicinity of the present-day intersection of Poplar and
Limekiln Roads. From there they would take Limekiln Road to Haviland, and follow
that across to Pickett's Ridge. As we have noted before, the old road to Danbury
led from Pickett's Ridge through Starr's Plain and across Moses Mountain to
Wooster Heights in Danbury.
The road was so
called because of the limekiln, mentioned last week, which stood at the
northwest corner of Lee and Limekiln Roads. That corner was considered the
southern - or town - end of the road, and the landmark there became the road's
is a 23-lot subdivision off the western side of lower Limestone Road. A map of
the subdivision, which includes Shields Lane, was filed by developer Jerry
Tuccio in 1966.
Limestone is one
of the oldest place names in Ridgefield, alive today in a relatively modern name
for a fairly modern road.
Limestone dates back to at least 1712 and finds its origin in a specific
locality. A deed filed that year from the Proprietors to Joseph Keeler mentions
nine acres "north of Limeston Hill." A 1717 deed refers to "Lime
The main body of
the hill was situated just north of the intersection of Limestone, Haviland and
Danbury Roads - where Limestone Shell service station is today. What is now
fairly flat was once higher; decades of mining the limestone helped to flatten
the territory to its present level.
This area was
also often called Mine Hill because it was so well worked for its valuable
mineral basic to any 18th and 19th Century community. The hill extended
southeastward to include the ridge traversed by Poplar Road.
was the most noteworthy feature of the neighborhood and probably had a good deal
of exposed limestone rock in order for the settlers to have named it so soon in
the town's history. By 1740, deeds and road descriptions were speaking simply of
"Limestone" as a region. For example, the selectmen in May 1740 took
three roods of land from Joseph Keeler "at ye east end, west side, of his
own land at Limestone" for a highway.
After 1750, the
Limestone area was becoming settled enough to warrant the establishment of some
regional services. The Town Meeting in 1752 voted that "there shall be a
woman school kept at Limestone ... ye ensuing summer season." This is the
first reference in the town records to a schoolhouse there, but a school may
have been established earlier. (Incidentally, it was a "woman school"
in the summer because all the "men" - actually boys - would be too
busy working in the fields and on the farms to attend school at that time of
The Annual Town
Meeting on Dec. 8, 1789 "voted that a lawful pound may be erected in some
part of the town that is called Bennits Farm..." But only a few months
later, voters reversed the decision and decided to erect the pound at
"Limestone, near the parting of roads near the dwelling house of Ebenezer
Lobdell and not Bennetts Farm...."
was perhaps an indication that Limestone had become a fairly populated and
influential part of the town by this time. It had, after all, a couple of mills
and a store over by Stonehenge and Still Roads (and later even had a post office
in that little commercial hamlet).
By 1834, land
records refer to "Limestone District," a term that lasted well into
the 20th Century. (When Samuel Stebbins was town clerk from 1801 to 1836, the
name was sometimes recorded as "Lymestone.")
district in the mid-1800's included all of upper Danbury Road, lower Limestone
Road, lower Great Hill Road, Route 7 from its intersection with Danbury Road
south to New Road, Haviland Road, and upper Limekiln Road. Also called District
Number Three, it was one of the smaller school districts in the area it covered,
but was probably as populated as any.
originally stood at the intersection of Haviland and Still Roads - near the
Limestone hamlet. However, the last Limestone schoolhouse was on Danbury Road,
just north of Limestone Shell. It was closed in 1939 and later converted into a
house by Lewis J. Finch, and it still serves as a house today.
mined in various parts of northern Ridgefield for use as plaster and mortar
after it had been "dried" in a kiln. The most extensive deposits were
found in the Limestone, Bennett's Farm and Farmingville Districts. The biggest
mine appears to have been at Limestone Hill.
Evidence of the
abundance of the mineral is found in the number of limekilns that operated in
the area. The Selleck or Sellick family had a kiln along the north side of
Bennett's Farm Road (a little east of Knollwood Drive) as early as 1817; this
structure still stands and is probably the only limekiln still existing in town.
By 1820, Andrew Barnum and Phineas Chapman operated a kiln in Farmingville near
New Road. William Lee had another one in Farmingville by 1844 (mentioned under
Limestone, there was the large kiln on Limekiln Hill (discussed last week). And
there was another, owned by Rufus Canfield and leased to Albert Keeler and Hiram
Bouton (1851) on an old road west of Nod Road and south of Whipstick Road.
limestone is common in our ground is found today in the widespread use of water
softeners to remove particularly this mineral from tap water.
extends from Danbury Road to Bennett's Farm Road, and bears the name of the
district in which its southern end begins. However, 75% of the length of the
road is in the old Bennett's Farm District.
And even the
lower end was not originally considered Limestone Road. In the 18th Century, the
section of the highway from Danbury Road to Great Hill Road (including Limestone
Road Extension) was all part of Great Hill Road - only it wasn't called Great
Hill Road. The most common name then was "the road to Bennett's Farm"
or Bennett's Farm Road.
from Great Hill Road north through the woods - and much swamp - to Bennett's
Farm Road was not built until around 1835. At that time and until at least 1856,
this route was called "the New Road" or "the New Road from
Limestone to Ridgebury."
The fact that
flat and straight Limestone Road was built a century after the hilly and curving
Great Hill Road to lead from the same place to the same place is not hard to
understand. Although the settlers certainly would have preferred a flat,
straight road, 18th Century highways were laid out over the terrain that
required the least amount of construction work and had the driest surface. The
narrow wheels of carts could negotiate curves and hills, but could easily get
stuck in muddy sections of road where water tended not to drain well.
Those who laid
out Great Hill Road as the route to Bennett's Farm and as the road from
Limestone to Ridgebury did so because it was the driest path. Later, when
manpower, money and perhaps some improved technology were available to fill and
lay a highway across flat wetland, Limestone Road was built.
However, the new
section of Limestone Road was not paved until well into this century. Until
then, it was always a problem in wet times. Paul Morganti can remember its being
swampy and impassable when he was a child in the 1910's and 1920's.
Extension is the original route of the eastern end of Limestone Road. The
straighter, newer section was cut through around 1960.
Limestone Road Extension, is one of the sillier ones around since it is not
really an extension, but the old route of Limestone Road. A better name should
have been used - and still could be.
historian George L. Rockwell, the Norwalk river in the eastern Limestone
District (from around Little Pond south to New Road) was sometimes called
Limestone River by people who lived in the neighborhood. The name does not
appear in pre-1880 land records, however.
In the 18th
Century, the river here was often called the East River (q.v.).
is a short, dead-end road off the west side of Limestone Road, a little south of
and opposite Rita Road. It was developed around 1961 by Great Hill Lakes Inc.,
one of William Winthrop's corporations that developed much of Ridgefield Lakes.
extends from Branchville Road to Old Washington Road and is part of Washington
Park Estates, a subdivision started around 1951 by Bert Ison.
The road was
named for Abraham Lincoln, although the 16th President never visited Ridgefield.
However, his vice-president from 1861 to 1865, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, spoke
here in 1864. No geographical name recalls Mr. Hamlin, however. In fact, few
people today would even recognize this vice-president's name - anywhere.
incidentally, is a pretty popular fellow with road namers. Of the 23 towns in
Fairfield County a few years ago, 11 had roads named after Lincoln. Exactly the
same number of towns had roads named for George Washington.
So popular was
the name here that we almost had two Lincoln roadways, but not for exactly the
On some maps,
dated as late as 1967, Holmes Road at Westmoreland is called Lincoln Road, a
name that recalled not the President, but the original subdivider of
Westmoreland, the Lincoln Development Corporation of Lincoln, Mass.
The name was
changed because of confusion with Lincoln Lane, two miles away.
Linden Road, a
short dead-end road off Poplar Road, was developed starting in the 1960's by
Armando Salvestrini, who named it for the trees in the vicinity.
It is possible
that Linden Road, along with lower Poplar Road, comprise the eastern end of an
old 18th and 19th Century highway that ran from Danbury Road at Fox Hill Village
to Limekiln Road, and that this was called Norrins Ridge Road.
The lindens or
basswoods are a small group of trees that run up to 80 feet in height. They have
been of little commercial value, although the strong roots have been used to
manufacture cord. In nature, however, linden flowers are valued for the nectar
collected by honeybees; the buds and fruits are eaten by many wild animals; and
the twigs are food for deer and rabbits.
The lindens in
this neighborhood may have been planted stock of the huge Outpost Nurseries
which operated in that area from the 1920's through the 1950's and which will be
described in a future column.
At least one
1960's map labels the narrow body of water on the west side of Old Mill Road as
Although a pond
probably once existed here, it is shown on a 1957 map as "proposed
pond." The builder and owner was Otto H. Lippolt, who developed the
neighborhood in the 1950's and early 1960's. Mr. Lippolt, a well-liked
well-driller who died in 1965, owned much of northeastern Ridgefield, having
acquired hundreds of acres through tax sales during the Depression. Much of the
land was never surveyed, and it was often said that Mr. Lippolt bought several
parcels more than once. He and his land were discussed in more detail under
The pond is more
commonly called Old Mill Pond. The little island in it has been called Bear
Island, probably because of the nearby Bear (or Bare) Mountain.
James B. Franks
(1922-1995), who named the road after his daughter, developed Lisa Lane, a
dead-end road off the west side of Tackora Trail. Nearby Christopher Road was
named for his son.
The roads are in
the 1957 subdivision called Mamanasco Lake Park.
Little Pond, the
complement to Great Pond, is on the west side of Route 7, just south of the
intersection with Route 35.
The pond was
first called Aokeets or Aokeels (q.v.) by the Indians, but that name never
appeared in deeds in the land records and shows up only in the first survey of
the town's boundaries.
Oddly enough, no
name at all appeared in the land records until 1848. The pond's never being
mentioned by name in first 140 years of the settlement indicates that the land
surrounding it was probably owned in one piece by only two or three families
during the period. Usually, a pond makes a good landmark for a property
boundary; but if no property bordering it is divided and sold, then the pond may
get no notice in the land records.
It was possibly a
division of land that prompted the first mention of the pond in 1848 when David
Taylor of Redding sold Hanford Bates three roods (three quarters of an acre)
bounded on the east by the Sugar Hollow Turnpike Road and on the west "by
the Little Pond."
Clark's map of
Fairfield County (1856) also labels it Little Pond, indicating the name was well
established by then. It may have been well established long before, but we have
no record of it.
Road, a dead-end lane off Indian Cave Road, was part of the 1964 Twin Ridge
subdivision by Giles and Barry Montgomery. It became a town highway in 1968.
The road's name
appears to be simply descriptive of a little ridge there; the name was not taken
from an old geographical term.
Hill" is a term mentioned in Geographical Positions in the State of
Connecticut Geodesy, an 1890 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey publication.
According to Connecticut Place Names, the locality is one-half mile west of Fox
This is clearly
the same hilltop locally called Asproom Loaf, Asproom Loft, Aspen Loaf, and
Aspine Loaf in various 18th and 19th Century land records, and what is generally
called today Barlow Mountain. It is situated in Pierrepont State Park and the
top, at an elevation of 950 feet above sea level, commands a fine view.
"loaf" was common years ago to refer to the shape of a hill. Most
often in the Northeast, the term was Sugarloaf, referring to the conical shape
of an old-fashioned loaf of sugar.
historian George L. Rockwell mentions in 1927 that there was in the 19th Century
a store at "Lockwoods Corners" run by the Haviland family.
Lockwood's Corners was the intersection of Danbury, Limestone, and Haviland
Roads, so called at least in the mid-19th Century because a man named Charles S.
Lockwood lived at the southern corner of Danbury and Limestone Roads. Mr.
Lockwood bought the 29 acres and home from Jacob Dauchy in 1844 and was living
there as late as 1867.
Lockwoods were an
old but small family in Ridgefield, probably founded by Peter Lockwood of
Norwalk, who came to Farmingville in 1744. The clan was much more numerous in
The corners were
recognized as an important crossroads. In 1787, the Annual Town Meeting voted
"there be for the future one advertisement for a Town Meeting set up at the
parting of the pathes in Limestone near the dwelling house of Ebenezer Lobdell."
This was the old-fashioned signpost, the equivalent of the bulletin board in
today's town clerk's office or the Legal Notices in the newspaper. Several of
them were set up at strategic places around town where a significant number of
people would pass by and see local announcements.
In 1789, an
animal pound for Limestone was set up at this intersection on Ebenezer Lobdell's
property, and Ebenezer was made keeper of the pound. Lobdell's property may have
been what was later Lockwood's property.
was even more important after 1801 when it became the southern terminus of the
Danbury and Ridgefield Turnpike, the lower mile of which is now upper Danbury
Road (except in a few places where the road was straightened by the state
highway department). The turnpike made traveling to Danbury much quicker and
The original path
of this turnpike still exists just a tad east of present-day Danbury Road,
running between Haviland and Danbury Roads.
The Long Bogs, a
locality mentioned only once in the land records through 1880, was situated in
northern Ridgebury, possibly near the present-day Mill Plain section of Danbury
or somewhat north of it. According to that only citation - in an 1806 deed - it
was probably very near the New York State line.
Long was a
popular adjective in early place-naming. Ridgefield had at least nine different
pre-1850 names beginning with long while in the state, more than three dozen
different variations are found.
Longmeadow in Massachusetts and Long Branch in New Jersey acquired their names
from what were locality names within the communities. Perhaps the best known of
the Northeastern long names is Long Island, a typically simple early American
Long Bridge was
probably more a road than a "bridge" in the common sense of the word.
The term was applied to a section of western Farmingville Road, from the first
curve just east of Danbury Road to the south end of Norrins Ridge, just west of
The name first
appeared in a 1753 deed, mentioning 14 acres "lying westerly of ye Long
Bridge." Soon after, the town took from Nehemiah Stebbins "about 52
pole (of land) at ye Long Bridge at ye Great Swamp for highway." Thereafter
the name appears occasionally.
The wetland here
was apparently filled by early settlers, creating an earthen "bridge"
so that Farmingville Road could be run across the northern part of Great Swamp
to the valuable farmland on the east side of the swamp.
It was a flat,
easy route, but apparently not one without its problems. The Town Meeting in
1831 was asked to appoint a committee to view the road from Long Bridge to
Danbury Road "and report to this meeting on the expedience of widening the
The meeting voted
down the study, for reasons not explained. However, the Annual Town Meeting in
1837 voted that Nathan Smith, Ebenezer Hawley, and William Howe be a committee
to lay out land "in some convenient place, and near to, and to repair the
road across Long Bridge at the Great Swamp so called." The 1838 Annual Town
Meeting accepted the report and laid out the road "from the southwesterly
corner of Edmond Beers homelot, about one half a rod of land... comprising the
little rocky hill there situate and appraised the damage at $10." Beers
also got to cut down and use all the trees on the confiscated land.
experienced by the Farmingville Road users may have been that the
"bridge" would sink into the centuries-old muck of Great Swamp
underneath the fill.
Although we have
avoided mention of most names of lots - and there were hundreds of different
ones here - Long Lot is somewhat interesting because in nearby towns, it was an
important and unusual place name.
Lot, probably just a family or neighborhood name for an elongated rectangular
lot, was off North Salem Road, somewhere opposite Wooster Street. References to
it occur in 1797 and 1838.
borders Redding, where Long Lots has a different meaning. In 1670 the town of
Fairfield (which included today's Westport and much of today's Redding), laid
out 71 "long lots," so called because they were only four to 70 rods
in width (a rod is 16.5 feet), but miles long, extending northward as far as
Deeds written in
1774, 1802, and 1846 mention Long Meadow, a locality in Ridgebury, probably
along Ridgebury Road near Regan or Old Stagecoach Roads.
Two 1774 deeds
mention the place; in one, Elnathan Sturges gives his son, Elnathan Jr., 52
acres west of "ye Long Meadow"; in the other, Elnathan Jr. buys from
Ichabod Doolittle, land "by ye north end of a great ledge of rocks a little
west of Long Meadow so called.
Doolittle in the
18th Century operated a well-known tavern on the west side of Ridgebury Road
near today's Hawthorne Hill Road. A few remnants of its stone foundation was
once visible along the edge of the road and may still be there.
In 1760, Stephen
Olmsted sold John Olmsted his house and land "lying near ye Long Pond
Mountain" and on "Colony line." Deeds in 1815, 1819, and 1827
also mention Long Pond Mountain.
The term refers
to the very steep hill on the north shore of Lake Rippowam, a hill that extends
into Ridgefield along Rippowam Road. In New York state, the hill or mountain is
in both Lewisboro and North Salem.
The hill is one
of the steepest in the area, rising from 471 feet above sea level at Lake
Rippowam to 900 feet high just about 1,000 feet north of the lake's shoreline. A
little bit farther north, the mountain reaches 976 feet at the southeast corner
of the town of North Salem.
The locality is
sometimes called East Long Pond Mountain in New York state records.
The existence of
the term Long Ridge in Ridgefield records was very brief. It's one and only
appearance in a deed was in March 1723 when the Proprietors deeded Matthew
Saintjohn three acres on "ye Long Ridge."
However, in a
circumstance unusual for such a short-lived term, Long Ridge also appears on a
very early map, that of the division of land in the Southwest Ridges. And Long
Ridge was noted near the southwestern-most part of the Ridges.
Since most of the
Southwest Ridges was in territory that was part of the Oblong, ceded to New York
in 1731, the disappearance of the name Long Ridge in Ridgefield records is not
surprising. Odds are the locality was along the southern end of the straight
section of Elmwood Road in today's Lewisboro, N.Y.
The name Long
Pond occasionally appears in early land records for a body of water that is now
"bodies" of water and which are not even in Ridgefield.
Long Pond occur as early as 1729. In March of that year, the proprietors
purchased from the Indian leader Taporneck a strip of land on the western side
of town, particularly around West Mountain, which extended into what is now New
York State. The purchase included half of Lake Waccabuc and all of Lakes
Rippowam and Oscaleta (q.v. all three), now situated in the town of Lewisboro,
then, the three lakes were considered one long body of water, and probably were
one body of water. And it was called Long Pond.
The pond was well
known and apparently well liked by the Indians who, in an earlier deed, referred
to themselves as Taporneck and Moses, "Indians belonging to Wepack or long
pond so called..." The 1729 deed selling most or all of the land around
Long Pond mentions a boundary marker at the outlet of the pond, "near ye
lower fishing place."
This deed was
signed by seven Indians, some of whom bore rather colorful names. Besides
Taporneck and Moses, there are Samm, Ammon, Wett Hams, Pawquenongi, and Crow.
Whether they were planning to move westward, as other local natives did, is not
known. But two subsequent Indian deeds for land in Ridgebury did not mention any
of the above natives.
ownership of this territory didn't last long, for it was part of the Oblong that
in 1731 was given to New York colony in exchange for Greenwich. Yet, the name
still popped up in Ridgefield records, such as in 1733 when the proprietors
deeded James Northrup 11 acres on the north side of his land at "ye Long
Pond Boggs." A small section of bogland, east of Lakes Rippowam and
Oscaleta, was and still is within Connecticut.
In deeding David
Scott 18 acres in the 1730's, the proprietors mention that it's "lying on
ye West Mountain by the Indian path that goeth to ye Long Pond." Around
1740, Benjamin Hecock's (Hickox) heirs received from the proprietors land
"on ye Great Hill, east of Ye Long Pond." And about the same time, the
proprietors granted Ebenezer Smith five and one-half acres "lying near ye
Long Pond, and bounded west by Government Line or their Oblong lott."
Years of filling
around the shore lines and bogs, plus the natural erosion of soil from West
Mountain - soil that ended up and filled up Long Pond - made the body of water
shallower and created three smaller ponds, which today have been developed with
small-lot houses and cottages somewhat in the manner of the Ridgefield Lakes.
records continued to mention Long Pond until 1761; a 1797 map of Lewisboro shows
"North Long Pond" and "South Long Pond" for Rippowam and
But this wasn't
the only Long Pond in early Ridgefield....
As early as 1740,
deeds were mentioning another Long Pond. In that year, when the estate of James
Bennett, founder of Bennett's Farm, was divided among his heirs, Gersham Bennett
got 20 acres "by ye Long Pond." In 1743, Alexander Ressequie sold
Benjamin Wilson Jr. two parcels, partly in Danbury and partly in Ridgefield,
"and situate near ye Long Pond, so called, one of ye said pieces contains
96 acres and three rods of land ... lying at ye mouth of ye river coming out of
ye Long Pond."
The deeds make it
clear that what they were calling Long Pond is what we today call the Bennett's
Ponds (q.v.), north of Fox Hill and Bennett's Farm Road near Route 7. Again, one
body of water later got shallower to make two distinct ponds.
The conversion of
the name from Long Pond to Bennett's Pond or Ponds began around 1753 when a deed
mentions 90 acres "at ye Long Pond above Bennits Farm." By 1779, a
deed was referring to "Bennetts Long Pond." After that, the word Long
disappears as a place name altogether.
The Long Stone is
an odd and interesting locality that figured into a rarely mentioned but
noteworthy change in the boundaries of the town.
Back in 1786, the
Connecticut General Assembly received a petition from "Abner Gilbert,
Nehemiah Sherwood and Thomas Sherwood, inhabitants of the town of Reading,
shewing to this (Connecticut General) Assembly that they live upon an extreme
point of the town of Reading, and that it is inconvenient for them to attend
public business in said Reading, and praying to be annexed to the town of
agreed to transfer to Ridgefield the chunk of Redding "lying westerly of a
straight line, drawn from the southwesterly corner of the township of Danbury to
the perambulation bounds between the towns of Redding and Ridgefield, known by
the name of Long Stone, about 480 rods easterly from the westerly corner of sd.
"The same is
hereby declared to be a part of the town of Ridgefield, provided nevertheless
that all taxes that have or may be collectible on the lists already given in, be
paid to collectors of sd. town of Reading."
The exact size or
extent of this piece of land is difficult to calculate from the sketchy
description of the boundaries of the annex. However, a 1792 map of Connecticut
by Samuel Huntington shows a triangular sliver of Redding projecting well into
Ridgefield north of Great Pond, perhaps even a mile or more into the Fox Hill
area west of today's Route 7 just below the Danbury town line.
This map is not
noted for its accurate placement of boundaries or landmarks; actually, it was
not up-to-date in showing the sliver six years after it was ceded to Ridgefield.
However, it gives at least a clue as to the shape and size of the ceded
territory. I suspect that the south side of the boundary line should be angled
farther to the south to be more accurate.
Long Stone was
about 200 feet south of Picketts Ridge Road (also called Great Pond Road) on the
town line. Whether the annex line angled its way up and around Great Pond and
over to the vicinity of the Ridgefield Veterinary Hospital and beyond is not
clear; at least part of Great Pond belonged to Ridgefield before the annexation.
Long Stone was
mentioned again in the perambulation (boundary inspection) of the
Ridgefield-Redding line in 1786. From near "Umpowog" Pond, the line
ran northwesterly "to the well-known Long Stone west of Banks house ...
from thence we run with a chain and compass north 5 degrees west to the Freehold
Corner (q.v.) being the southwest corner of Danbury..."
The stone had
thus become the point at which the modern town line changes direction from a
northwest course to almost directly north. This change of course may be the
result, in part at least, of the annexation.
Long Stone is not
mentioned in the perambulation of 1808. In 1828, the perambulation description
speaks only of "a long stone" in a wall.
By 1888, only a
"monument" in a "stone fence" is noted. The Long Stone had
been long forgotten by then.
Long Swamp is an
old name for an area that has probably changed markedly over the two centuries
since the place was first mentioned.
The name first
occurs in three 1744 deeds when the proprietors were parceling out land along
upper North Street. One deed to Samuel Gates is for five acres "lying
easterly of ye Long Swamp, upon ye Brushy Ridge, so called..."
Another deed to
Thomas Hyatt (a name that may have evolved into Hoyt or Haight) transferred 46
acres "lying across ye north end of ye Long Swamp," and a third, to
Jonah Keeler, was for 35 acres "lying west of ye road yt leads up behind ye
along with subsequent ones, indicate that Long Swamp ran along the Titicus
River, east of North Salem Road and west of North Street. It extended from
somewhere north of Mapleshade Road to Barlow Mountain Road, although the name
may have applied to swampland even farther north. The road in the Keeler deed
that went up back of the swamp was apparently North Street.
While this area
is still swampy, it probably contains not nearly as much wetland as it did in
the early 18th Century. Over the years wetlands were drained for pasture or
filled for development.
The swamp is
undoubtedly a vestige of a long lake that covered the Titicus River Valley and
extended into New York State. The lake was probably
created by the melting of the last glacier to cover the area some 25,000
years ago. The lake gradually got smaller as its sources of water diminished and
as erosion and sedimentation filled in the basin bottom.
Long Swamp is
also mentioned in 1807, 1847, and 1848. Most references seem to be land below
Barlow Mountain Road.
which runs off Riverside Drive at Stonehenge Estates (also called Fire Hill
Acres), is so called for the view of the Norwalk River Valley and, from some
The road rises
from about 465 feet above sea level at its west end to almost 580 feet at its
Built by Jerry
Tuccio, the road became a town highway in 1964.
Lookout Drive and
Lookout Road are private roads off Lakeview Drive at the Ridgefield Lakes. They
look out over Fox Hill Lake and cause some degree of confusion with each other
and with the following.
If two Lookouts
at Ridgefield Lakes aren't bad enough, there's always Lookout Point at
Pierrepont Lake (Lake Naraneke).
developed by Jerry Tuccio in connection with Twixt Hills, is a dead-end off
Barlow Mountain Road and serves homes on a peninsula projecting into the pond.
It became a town road in 1961.
Loren Lane, a
short dead-end road off Mamanasco Road, was named for Peter Lorenzini, who
developed it in the late 1950's.
Lost Mine Place
is a dead-end road off the south side of New Road, serving the Hunting Ridge
The land was
originally part of the Lee family's farms and probably belonged to members of
that family well back into the 1700's. For a long time, it was on the farm of
Robert A. Lee, who died in 1982. Five years later, J. Frederick Lee, trustee for
the children of Robert A. Lee, sold the 27 acres to Lost Mine Limited
Partnership, whose president was Leonard W. Cotton, for $1.6-million. Mr.
Cotton's firm had obtained approval for an 11-lot subdivision in 1986.
originally proposed calling the road Hunting Ridge Place, but the name was
rejected as being too close to Hunter Lane, also in the Farmingville section of
town. This writer was asked for his suggestion, and he and his son, Ben, came up
with Lost Mine Place.
Years ago, the
late Stanley Walker had told me of reports that an old silver mine had existed
in what is now woods off the north side of New Road. While he spent many hours
searching for the mine, he was never able to locate it. Mr. Walker suspected
that the opening to the mine was covered up, either to hide it or to prevent
people from falling into it.
Robert A. Lee,
who was born on the Lee farm before the turn of the century, had also heard the
reports of the mine, but did not know its location.
Silver was not
unknown in this area, as might be expected from the existence of the well-known
section of Norwalk, called Silvermine. Ridgefield's Silver Spring area, however,
was supposedly named not for the mineral but for the silvery clarity of the
Wilton also had
an interesting silvermine off present-day Route 7 somewhere near Georgetown.
This mine has a history of greed attached to it.
Hamilton Hurd's History of Fairfield County (1881), the mine was first worked
around 1765. "It appears that it was originally divided into shares and
worked for a short time before the Revolutionary War, and that the manager or
overseer, after having sent away all the ore that had been dug, under pretense
of having it examined, suddenly left 'between two days,' leaving the
shareholders minus the amount of their subscriptions, and also their share of
was known for a certainty that the superintendent did not intend to return and
resume work, the stockholders began to look around to see if there was not some
property left that could be made available towards paying them for money
invested and labor rendered. Tradition says that all the property to be found
consisted of an old Negro slave and a pair of oxen, which were sold for the
benefit of creditors. It is also said that many persons in comfortable
circumstances, who had subscribed liberally towards working the mine, were by
this operation considerably reduced in circumstances."
the Revolution, the mine was worked again by "some Englishmen" who
went into partnership with the owner, Capt. Azar Belden. "They put up their
machinery, which was a common windlass worked by hand, and soon commenced
business in a small way, digging to a depth of about 150 feet. They built a
small shanty in the woods near where they lived, and where, during the
night-time, they coined a considerable amount of bullion. They kept their silver
hid from the vigilance of officers and sightseers. After having worked the mine
some time, they suddenly absconded, taking their treasure and about five barrels
of ore with them.'
figured it was their compensation for losing the Revolution.
No type of place
name was more common in 18th and 19th Century Ridgefield than those of the
privately owned lots that made up most of the farms in town. Fields, pastures,
meadows, and woods were often given names. Frequently, the names reflected land
features (hills, ditches, brooks, ridges, crops) and sometimes former owners or
literally thousands of lot names, many of them common and used on many farms. A
large number of lot names are recorded in deeds that are in town records; many
others never made it on the record. Often, a lot would be referred to informally
as something like "the back 40" or "the front 20," the
numbers referring to the acreage. Names like these rarely appear in records.
One of the most
remarkable collections of lot names is found in a series of deeds filed in 1861
when the heirs of Ebenezer Hoyt split up the late Mr. Hoyt's farm on Florida and
Florida Hill Roads. In do doing the heirs recorded the names of more than 30
Lower Zeb Lot,
Upper Zeb Lot, Seth Meadow, Seth Swamp, Wilkey Lot, Ben Meadow, Edmond Meadow,
Upper Swamp, Spring Lot, Tom Lots, Second Jones Meadow, Square Meadow, Old
Orchard, Southeast Lot, Northeast Lot, Barn Meadow, Rear Tree Meadow, Sawed Bars
Lot, Ben Woods, South Lot, Upper Sidehill Lot, Ridge Meadow, South Corn Lot,
Butternut Tree Lot, Sheep Lot, Tim Orchard, Corner Lot, Barn Lot Orchard, Ben
Jones Woods, Big Rock Lot, Rock Lot, Lower Lot, and Anna Orchard.
The Hoyts were
obviously fond of naming lots, especially after people. I suppose that most of
the people were children or relatives; some could have been former owners.
In a study of a
community's place name, it is almost impossible to cover in detail all of the
lot names on record, and especially to identify their exact locations today. I
have, in a few cases, gone into detail on some lot names, if they served to make
an interesting point or later became more substantial place names.
lot names should not go unnoticed, the following list of about 130 names and the
years in which they were recorded has been compiled to give an idea of the types
of names that were used here. Most of the cited names were recorded between 1790
and 1860, a period which saw the greatest use of lot names in Ridgefield.
However, many were in use both before and after this period. Anyone who grew up
in farming country or has grandparents who are farmers will no doubt see
familiar names in this list - or at least, quickly sense how the names came to
Aunt Hanna Lot,
Back Lee Lot,
Barn Lot, 1816
Beaver Lot, 1817
Ben Burt Lot,
Bogg Lot, 1793
Bradley Lot, 1827
Bridge Lot, 1841
Brush Lot, 1823
Burritt Lot, 1831
Burying Hill Lot,
Bush Lots, 1831
Cain Lot, 1842
(for miller Hugh Cain)
Camp Lot, 1848
(for the Rev. Samuel Camp of Ridgebury)
Common Lot, 1817
Corn Lot, 1833
Cow Lot, 1802
Cow Pasture, 1842
Dauchy Lot, 1855
Davis Lot, 1803
Doctor Lot, 1832
(once owned by Dr. Nehemiah Perry Sr.)
East Lot, 1834
Eight Acre Lot,
Elm Tree Lot,
Farquar Lot, 1814
Flat Meadow, 1859
Foster Lot, 1847
Fox Lot, 1849
Four Acre Lot,
Gate Lot, 1845
Gilbert Lot, 1841
Grass Lot, 1811
Great Field, 1761
Great Lott, 1807
Great Stalk Lot,
Hill Lot, 1799
Hollow Lot, 1799
House Lot, 1860
Irish Wood Land,
1853 (no doubt, an interesting but lost story there)
Isaac Lot, 1809
Israel Lot, 1830
(for former owner, Israel Mead)
Ivy Lot, 1840
Jim Lot, 1866
Josiah Lot, 1830
King Lot, 1837
Little Lot, 1820
Long Lot, 1838
Lower Stalk Lot,
Mead Lot, 1828
Mead Sprout Land,
Middle Lee Lot,
Middle Lot, 1833
Mill Lot, 1815
Mutton Lot, 1875
Mygatt Lot, 1844
Ninety Acre Lot,
North Benj. Burt
North Brook Lot,
North Mill Pond
Oliver Lot, 1847
Old Asproom Lot,
Old Field, 1803
Old Hill Lot,
Old Lot, 1835
Old Orchard, 1820
Old Plain Lot,
Old Ridge Lot,
Old Side Hill
Orchard Lot, 1799
Pasture Lot, 1714
Paul Lot, 1838
Pickett Lot, 1804
Plow Lot, 1827
Pond Lot, 1813
Pond Meadow, 1854
Ram Pasture, 1799
Raney Lot, 1872
Ridge Lot, 1839
Rock Spring Lot,
Rye Lot, 1833
St. John Meadow,
Sand Hill Burt
Seven Acre Wood,
Side Hill Lot,
Side Hill Woods,
Sorrel Lot, 1793
South Brook Lot,
South Home Lot,
Spring Lot, 1793
Stalk Lot, 1828
Still Lot, 1793
Stone Lot, 1822
Stony Wood, 1820
Street Lot, 1849
(for a family named Street)
Swamp Lot, 1861
Swamp Wood Lot,
Tall Walnut Lot,
Town House Lot,
1860 (the town hall land)
Town Lot, 1856
Upper Lot, 1828
1852 (a family of that name)
West Buck Wheat
West Hawley Lot,
West Lot, 1805
West Meadow, 1801
Wet Well Lot,
Zeb Lot, 1824
Zoph Lot, 1822
Lounsbury Lane is
an old road that connected Lounsbury Road to Florida Hill Road. The highway
appears on Clark's map of Fairfield County in 1856.
For most of this
century it has been an unusable pathway between fields at its northern end and
through woods at its southern end, which is a little west of the Florida Road
intersection. However, in the late 1980's, John Sturges received approval to
develop some lots along the southern end, whose pathway was modified somewhat to
The name, derived
from the same source as Lounsbury Road (below), was in use by at least 1946 when
it appears on the town's first official zoning map. However, the name is
probably much older, dating from around the turn of the century.
is the name of a 1983 subdivision by Carl Lecher of 21 acres off the north side
of Lounsbury Road and served by Banks Hill Place. Mr. Lecher's other
developments include Hull Place, Evergreen Place, Pheasant Lane, Hermit Lane,
and Quail Ridge condominiums.
extending from Ivy Hill and Blackman Roads on the west to Farmingville and
Cain's Hill Roads on the east, recalls in its name one of the most notable
families in Ridgefield, a family that produced two governors of the state.
The road probably
existed from the 18th Century as an extension of Ivy Hill Road on the route to
Cain's Hill Road, and on to eastern Redding. By the turn of the century, it was
being called Lounsbury Road.
The story of the
Lounsburys begins in New York State in and around Pound Ridge. There the
Lounsbury and Scofield families had settled at the end of the 17th Century,
probably via Stamford (a town that once owned Pound Ridge). In 1823, members of
those two prominent families joined when Nathan Lounsbury (born in 1807 in
Stamford) and Delia Ann Scofield (born in 1809 in Patterson, N.Y.) were married
in Pound Ridge. The couple lived in Pound Ridge for a while, but for some
reason, decided to move eastward to Connecticut.
In 1839, they
paid $1,300 for the Wakeman Godfrey farm in Farmingville, consisting of 46 acres
and buildings on the west side of what is now Lounsbury Road. Nathan, who died
in 1894, was active in community politics and held several town offices. Besides
being the only Connecticut woman to be the mother of two governors, Delia is
believed to have been the first woman from Ridgefield to have formally served
the country during a war; she was a nurse in an Army hospital in Washington,
D.C., during the Civil War. She died a year after her husband.
Nathan and Delia
had six children, the oldest of which were George Edward Lounsbury and Phineas
George, born in
1838 in Pound Ridge, graduated from Yale in 1863 with highest honors, and
attended divinity school. He served as a deacon in Episcopal churches in
Thompsonville and Suffield for several years, but abandoned the ministry because
of throat difficulties.
founded Lounsbury, Mathewson and Company, a shoe manufacturing firm in South
Norwalk, heading it until he died. He was active in the Republican party and in
1894 was elected to the state senate from this district by a large majority, and
won re-election later by an even bigger margin. In 1898, he was nominated for
governor on the first ballot, and then joined the GOP in sweeping the state.
Of his two-year
term as governor, The Hartford Courant said: "In looks, manner and oratory,
there was a decided suggestion of the South in George E. Lounsbury... At the
state house, he was a useful and ornamental senator, and if no hard problems
came his way as governor, he at least performed the routine and ceremonial
duties with ease and a becoming dignity."
After only one
term, he retired from politics and became the first president of the First
National Bank and Trust Company of Ridgefield (now part of Union Trust). He
lived in the family homestead, called The Hickories, until his death in 1904.
Phineas preceded his brother as the state's chief executive. Born in 1841 in
Ridgefield, he left town at the age of 16 to, as he put it, seek his fortune,
which he set at $10,000, so he could return to marry Jenny Wright. At the time
of his death in 1925, he was worth many times his youthful goal: his estate was
valued at close to $1 million.
For a while he
worked in his brother's shoe factory and like his brother, his interests also
turned to politics. In 1874, he was elected to the State Legislature where he
was particularly interested in the temperance movement. (When he owned The
Ridgefield Press some years later, he forbade the acceptance of any liquor
advertising and immediately sold the paper when his instructions were
After a term in
the Legislature, he went to New York City to head the Merchants Exchange
National Bank and participated in the presidential campaign of James G. Blaine
in 1884 (Blaine's son later lived on High Ridge Road). Three years later, he was
elected governor of Connecticut, serving one term.
In 1896, he
retired from active politics and built his Main Street home, Grovelawn, now the
Community Center, which took 14 servants inside and 12 outside to keep running
to his satisfaction. His previous house on the same site was moved to Governor
Street (named for him) and now serves as the Donnelly and McNamara office
building, just west of the Boys' Club.
Every town has a
lovers lane, whether or not it's on the map - and it's usually not.
The name of
Ridgefield's Lovers Lane probably never appeared on a map - none we've seen
anyway. However, everyone in the early part of the century knew where it was:
today's Rockwell Road, or at least its western leg. That was where lovers could
find a bit of privacy, usually under cover of darkness, for whatever their warm
hearts moved them to do.
modern lovers also have their lanes, but none, as far as we can tell, has become
as well recognized and titled as was the original.
incidentally, there is a Lovers' Island, and Lovers' Leap, and a Lovers' Rock.
Lower Mill Pond
is another name for Lower Pond (below), the old complement to Upper Pond.
Lower Pond is now
a very small pond along the Titicus River on the south side of Saw Mill Hill
Road, just below Roberts Pond (which is much more modern than Upper or Lower
Ponds). According to Beers map of 1867, Lower Pond was several times larger in
the 19th Century than it is today.
The term was
first mentioned in an 1846 deed, describing land on the "Lower Mill Pond of
Jabez M. Gilbert." Jabez Mix Gilbert, who had a couple of mills downstream,
may have built Lower Pond.
When Lewis Stuart
sold James Gilbert a sawmill on the Titicus River in 1852, Gilbert got use of
both "Upper and Lower Ponds." The deed described Lower Pond as also
being called "Saw Mill Pond." Thus, Lower Mill Pond, as above, later
split into two names: simply Lower Pond or Saw Mill Pond, each name retaining
something of the original. It was typical for names to get simpler as they got
older; Mamanasco Mill Pond became Mamanasco Pond or Lake, or even simpler,
Burt's Pond; and the Great East Meadow Pond became Great Pond.
The fact that two
ponds - and later a third, New Pond - served the Titicus region indicates that
there was a great need for water there in the 19th Century. In the mid-1800's
there were at least a grist mill, a saw mill (maybe two of them), a cider mill,
a tannery, a sash and blind factory, and a shingle factory operating along the
south side of Saw Mill Hill Road, west of North Salem Road. All of these
operations required water power, and ponds represented a way of storing water -
like a battery does electricity - to run the machinery evenly, particularly when
the river wasn't being supplied by much rain water runoff.