In the days Cotton Hollow was a thriving mill village, people lived and worked on either side of Roaring Brook. Since the area was separate from South Glastonbury by a large fence and gate, the main way for people to cross the stream was a bridge located ~1,000 feet downstream from the large mills.
The footings are all that remain from the bridge, two stone walls that resemble retaining walls more than a bridge nowadays. The bridge sat right next to the old mill houses on the south shore of Roaring Brook. On the north side, the marker that honors the famous Eunice Cobb Stocking Gunpowder Mill from the Revolutionary War is located right next to the footing.
Mountain Road lives up to is name as one of the main roads that scales up to the top of Minnechaug Mountain. In days past, the road would also travel down the back of the mountain and connect up with Coop Road.
The existing part of the road now ends at a cul-de-sac. Then, a gate blocks off traffic from continuing. From there, the road heads into the woods, lined on one side by rock wall. It passes under the power lines before re-entering the woods and traveling down the backside of the mountain. It crosses over an unnamed brook before going up and over a small hill and meeting with Roaring Brook, where it runs parallel before turning and crossing over the stream to connect with Coop Road via Mountain Road Bridge.
Most of the Glastonbury town maps still show Mountain Road as an improved road, unlike Coop Road or Hill Street which are shown but listed as “Unimproved” roads. In 1972, the town voted to abandon Mountain Road beyond the paved part along with nine other roads in town.
Mountain Road once traveled all the way from the top of Minnechaug Mountain – where it currently ends at a cul-de-sac– all the way to Coop Road near to the Coop Sawmill. Just before connecting, it crossed Roaring Brook. A bridge, very similar to Coop Road Bridge, took it over the water. The difference between the two bridges is Mountain Road Bridge is wider, with six girders instead of Coop’s five, and the footings are stone instead of concrete.
The bridge has been underwater for the past few years due to a beaver dam upstream, but the water receded enough where the girters are once again out of the water.
Deep in the woods surrounding Buckingham Reservoir, once Coop Road crossed Roaring Brook right in front of the remains of the Coop Sawmill. Much of the bridge that brought the road over the water is gone, with only the footings and iron girders remaining. There are five girders that span on concrete footings, with stone foundations below them. It is very similar to the nearby Mountain Road Bridge.
Hebron Avenue, the major road in Glastonbury running east-to-west has seen its share of changes to straighten it out. Over the years, the road has been re-directed at least six times.
One of the biggest changes was Old Hebron Avenue. Half the road is still maintained by the town before an up-tight landowner chains off the remainder of the road to the Manchester Water Company gate.
Beyond the gate is the access road to the Buckingham Reservoir. For about 50 yards, the road is paved and follows the old Hebron Avenue. The old telephone poles can still be seen on the sides at different points.
However, the pavement takes a sharp left and begins up Old Coop Road. The original road can still be followed by straight ahead. In certain spots, the old, broken pavement pokes through the grass, but it is mostly dirt. One side is a lined by the old rock wall that established the width of the road.
There are three foundations on the road: Buckingham School on the corner with Old Coop Road; I. Goslee House on the north side of the Old Hebron Avenue beyond the intersection and an old barn across the street from I. Goslee.
At the end of the road is Old Hebron Ave Bridge where the road once crossed Roaring Brook. Nearby is Shoddy Mill Pond Dam, the remains of an old blacksmith shop.
In the 1960’s, the area was used as a chicken farm and many of the old coops can still be seen.
When Buckingham Reservoir was built in 1914, the original Coop Road was cut off by the newly-formed body of water. After this, Coop Road split into two: The Old Coop Road off of Old Hebron Ave and the new Coop Road built east on Hebron Ave near Rockwell Street.
In the 1970’s to early 1980’s, Coop Road was the center of a strong town debate. In 1972, the town abandoned 10 roads throughout the town, though the town originally considered 15. One of the five roads not abandoned was Coop Road.
The Manchester Water Company – who owned the nearby Buckingham Reservoir – the Town of Manchester, the Glastonbury Police Department and Glastonbury Town Manager Donald Peach were all in favor of abandoning the road. There were frequent issues of people trespassing onto the water company’s property and illegally swimming in the reservoir, along with littering along the road. Since the road was in such a remote area, the police needed to send two units to any issues in the area.
However, both residents and landowners along Coop Road opposed abandonment. It was voted on in 1972 and 1978 and both times, abandonment was shot down. In 1981, a recommendation came through to abandon the road beyond what was owned by town residents so they could still access their property.
Other notes: The town repaired the road in 1945 and in 1953, a chlorination plant was proposed along the road.
Parts of Coop Road still exists. The southern-most portion has two homes on it and is a popular access point to the reservoir for many hikers and bikers. The northern-most portion in Bolton, known as Coop-Sawmill Road, has three homes on it. But between those two points, gates have been put up to prevent automobile traffic.
Coop Road is one of four abandoned roads within the reservoir, joining Old Coop Road, Mountain Road and Rockwell Street. However, it is by far the longest, stretching over three miles while featuring the remains of seven homesteads, as well as an old sawmill and a few lost bridges.