20 Aug 2014
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Photo Tour Down the Old, Now Wooded, Dug Hill Road

The history will be remembered as an old road gets a new name

 

 

Way back in 1784, the Silver Brook Farm owned most of the land on Dug Hill Road and beyond, to the new luxury housing development on Flintlock Trail.  The farm is still active, and owned by Joan Belmont, who happily gives a short tour of the property that she has lived on for 15 years.  

Belmont pointed the way to the controversial Flintlock Trail, which is a straight shot up Dug Hill.  It’s where one road inexplicably becomes the next, for no real apparent reason - unless you look at a map.

At one time, Dug Hill took a sharp left down a hill, wound right, then paralleled the Silver Brook for a half mile before it met Holmes Farm Road at Hundred Acres Road. 

The only clue to that is the fence of the Silver Brook Farm which follows the now invisible road down to the remnants of that road. There remains only a sunken stony path deep within the woods and wetlands. 

The now wooded portion of Dug Hill Road is impassible except by horse or on foot, until it reaches the other side of the woods, ending again at 38 Dug Hill Road, which still exists.  There are no houses between 11 and 38 Dug Hill, and it is unknown whether or not there ever were.  

It is a road, woods, road, and it picks up where it left off, perhaps a hundred or more years ago.

While the wooded Dug Hill still exists as a road on the map, Assessor Chris Kelsey said they are beginning the process of abandoning it.  The wetlands and the rough sloped terrain make it improbable to ever develop.  Daniel Cruson, town historian, said it was most likely a simple way of getting from one farm to the next. He believes that the road was in use up until perhaps one hundred years ago. 

Kelsey called it a “paper road,” one that was never actually developed but has remained on the maps all the same.

Back up to the street of where Dug Hill meets Flintlock, resident Bob Virgalla was clearing overgrown brush.  It wasn’t on his property, but he has been doing it for ten years for the betterment of his community.  

Being an ambulance driver, Virgalla knows first hand the confusion such a road can cause. “It could be life threatening if the driver goes to the wrong end of Dug Hill and can’t pass through the woods,” he said, adding that there is also the simple inconvenience of having UPS drivers never knowing which side of Dug Hill to deliver a package.  

Maybe most importantly, though, Virgalla said that the two names were counterintuitive to the area, “This is one neighborhood.  We need one name.”

According to First Selectman Pat Llodra, changing the name requires every resident on that street to sign a petition in support of the change.  If only one resident objected, the change could not be accommodated.  “There is an impact on everyone on the street.  All of their personal documentation will have to be changed,” Llodra warned.

However, when Llodra saw what the residents were facing, she agreed and said, “This is too difficult.  Too confusing.”

The change was passed on to the Assessor, Chris Kelsey, who Llodra said was the architect of this plan.  Kelsey is also looking at other roads in Newtown that have similar circumstances. He named Head O’ Meadow as a road that opens up in three places.

While the change hasn’t taken a long time to pass through the town’s channels, it has taken Virgalla ten years to see it come to pass.  Until all of the homes were completed in the development, the change could not be initiated. 

When he went to the neighbors to seek their consent, every one agreed. Finally, he will see his one name, one neighborhood dream come true.  And the new name of the street?  In honor of the old farm down the street and the stream that feeds the pond, it will be called Silver Brook Lane.  

“There was enthusiasm around the table,” he said with a smile.

For a tour of the old, now heavily wooded Dughill Road, see the photos in the gallery.

Photo Gallery

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