Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Bluff Walk: Shelton's First Recreation Path

This post card was post marked 1914
The postcard above, titled "The Bluff Walk, Riverview Park, Shelton, Conn." is postmarked 1914 and captures a view from the south end of the park behind what is now the large ballfield. Shelton's first recreational path is now over 100 years old. It originally served the urban residents of downtown Shelton who worked in the factories that lined the lower part of the Shelton Canal.  In the postcard, you can clearly see the canal, river, dam, island, and train tracks (double tracks back then). The trees have been cut on the steep slope for a view, and there are sand slides going down the hill. The land for Riverview Park was donated to the City by the owners of the dam and canal.

Same view, 2016
Here's the view today. There are a lot of very young trees growing on the slope, so it looks like the vegetation was kept cut for a long time. The vegetation has helped to stabilize the slope, but ruined the view. The trail was forgotten for a time and parts were buried under the new ballfields and basketball parking lot. It was then 'rediscovered' in the 1990s, at which time an alderman for the ward asked the Trails Committee to adopt the trail and maintain it. White blazes now mark the route along the river bluff for a half mile from the playground to the Fort Hill marker overlooking the Boys and Girls Club.

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