GHS Access Road

In the mid-2000’s, Glastonbury High School underwent significant renovations. Much of these were focused on the school itself but they also included moving tennis courts and the town’s bus yard in order to build a new parking lot for students and connect the football field parking lot to the rest of the school’s lots.

The town’s animal control building was located on the fringe of campus with an access road from the bus yard through the school’s athletic fields. With the shuffle of roads and lots, the animal control access road was diverted through the football lot, as the old road was cut off by the new tennis courts and sidewalks.

Now, the old access roads sits abandoned next to the school’s varsity soccer field and a practice field. The powerlines for animal control were not moved and still sit next to the old road.

Mountain Road Bridge

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.

Rockwell Street

Rockwell Street is one of a handful of old, abandoned roads that wind through the forests surrounding the Buckingham Reservoir. It mostly traveled North-South, parallel to Hebron Avenue by roughly 100 yards.

In 1972, the town voted to abandon the entire 4,000-foot long road along with nine other roads in town.

Rockwell Street still exists in most places. The southern end is now the driveway to Candlewick Kennels in the same location as Coop Road. The northern end is closed off by a gate just off Hebron Ave. This part of the road is marked by towering pines that line the road and beautiful stonewalls that run through the forest.

There was just a single house located on the road, on the northern-most bend towards Hebron Avenue. The ruins of a house and barn can still be seen in a clearing next to a giant tree that likely stood when the land was settled. It’s unclear which ruins are the house and barn.

The ruins closest to the road are stone foundations that have mostly succumbed to nature. It’s long and narrow with plenty of scrap metal scattered in and around. On one end of the foundation is an open well, covered only by a rotting pallet and large rock. The well is still in great shape and deep enough where the bottom can’t be seen.

 

A 1934 aerial look of Rockwell Street.

The other ruins are larger and mostly made of concrete. There are different levels to the foundation that make it appears as if additions were built on over time.

A driveway peels off of Rockwell Street and heads into the fields that once surrounded the house. These walls can still be seen and are still in fine condition. The fields are still mostly open as the forest has only recently began to re-take it.

RELATED: Rockwell Dam

Hill Street

In 1972, Hill Street was one of nine other roads to fall victim to at least partial or complete abandonment by the town of Glastonbury. The eastern-most portion, connecting it to Birch Mountain Road, was abandoned while the town kept the remaining portion that was used to access the one house on the road at the time.

Now, it is just a dead-end dirt road off Hebron Avenue with a handful of houses on it. The Birch Mountain connector has faded away, although the path can still be seen lined with rockwalls on either side. It lasted long enough to reach the electricity era, as the powerlines to Hill Street travel along the lost part of the road which forces the electric company to keep Hill Street from getting overgrown.

The remains to an old homestead are just off the road which belonged to J.W. Finley, although the foundation has mostly collapsed in on itself and it looked to have been abandoned when aerial photos in the 1930’s were taken.

 

Old Hebron Avenue

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 the remainder of the road to the Manchester Water Company gate is chained off.

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 RoadThe 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.

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Coop Road

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.

The road used to connect to Mountain Road down near Coop Sawmill, before that road was also abandoned.

All historical information used obtained from the Hartford Courant historical archives.

Old New London Turnpike (Old Route 2)

Route 2 and New London Turnpike are two of the major roads that diagonally bisect Glastonbury. Route 2, a highway, is generally reserved for getting out of town while New London Turnpike is more for getting around town. However, there was a time when the two roads were one.

Before the modern-day Route 2 was built, the CT-2 was a long road that connected Hartford County to New London. The road began in Glastonbury and much of the road still exists. However, when Route 2 was built in the 1940’s, certain parts were left abandoned.

In Glastonbury, New London Turnpike ends with a whimper as a cul-de-sac at the end of a small, side road. However, much of the old turnpike still exists in town. The new highway cut off the road, so the other half now exists as Toll Gate Road. For a road that doesn’t serve that many people, it is abnormally wide thanks to its past.

That road eventually hits a cul-de-sac as well, before continuing as a gravel road. After a few hundred feet, the gravel turns to grooved concrete, the surface of Old Route 2 that many horses and buggies once traversed.

The road then begins a long climb up a hill, passing a sign acknowledging its history on the left and an old road cut off by the highway on the right. Once at the top of the hill, a foundation that was likely once a toll booth or gas station can be seen in the woods.

As the road descends, the concrete turns back into dirt. There’s an old on-ramp to the highway from the time they were still building the highway. They did it in pieces so while one part was being worked on, people would drive on the original Route 2 and then jumped back on in parts that were completed. At the gate for the road, the off-ramp comes down to the right.

Old New London Turnpike passes over a deep ravine, known as Dark Hollow. According to legend, a stagecoach went off the road and plummeted into the stream, which killed everybody on board. Supposedly, you can still hear the screams of the passengers.

The brook passes through stone culverts that have certain been tested by the forces of both nature and time. The road disappears under the built-up highway before re-appearing further up on the Shenipsit Trail.

Just upstream from the road is the old dam from the East Hartford Water Company’s dam – Dark Hollow Dam. Much of the asphalt from the road was ripped up when Route 2 was built but can still be seen in the woods at various points. The road is also an access way for the DEEP’s gun range.