Walk around the woods in the right part of Glastonbury and if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll see large, flat circles that interrupt the natural landscape. These are the remains of charcoal heaths, a once thriving industry in Connecticut that dates back roughly 200 years.
Blackledge Falls Park features at least six of these hearths — one of which the trail up to the falls crosses directly over — as well as the remains of a collier’s home, or the coal-maker. The house was built into the side of a hill, nearby to a stream and old path. The chimney has since collapsed over along with some of the retaining walls, though the general shape of the foundation can still be made out.
There are four hearths in the immediate vicinity of the house ruins. The house is located on a path that traveled from what is now Gay City State Park, through Blackledge Falls and down to Marlborough, used by colliers to transport coal. Lidar images of the area shows numerous charcoal hearths dotting the area.
In August 2019, the Historical Society of Glastonbury hosted an archaeological dig of the area and found an axe head and pipe stem, among other unnamed objects. There are plans for excavations to be continued in the near future.
All information via the Hartford Courant.
Related – Blackledge Falls Dam