Above All State Park
|Above All State Park|
|Connecticut state park|
|Elevation||1,470 ft (448 m) |
|Area||31 acres (13 ha) |
|Management||Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection|
|Website: Above All State Park|
Above All State Park is an undeveloped Connecticut state park located in the town of Warren. The park was founded in 1927 and it became a military installation known as the New Preston Gap-Filler RADAR Annex P-50A /Z-50A from June 1957 to June 1968. It later returned to being a state park, but the remnants of the Cold War defense installation are still extant. There are no markers, toilets, or other facilities at the Above All State Park. There are some informal trails near the top of the park that are not maintained or marked by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
In his book on Connecticut's state parks, author Joseph Leary traces the name to when the land was used by the Stone family, who claimed it was the highest working farm by elevation in all of Connecticut. During the 19th-century, the site was considered for the "Above-All Mountain House", a holiday resort, but it was never built. Leary writes that despite its name, the park is not "Above All" in terms of scale, views or elevation and cites the scale of Lake Waramaug State Park, the views of Mount Tom State Park and the elevation of Dennis Hill State Park. According to Connecticut; a Guide to Its Roads, Lore, and People, the park's name came from its "top of the world" isolation.
The park was founded in 1927 when the heirs of Seymour Strong gifted three acres of land to the state. The State of Connecticut decided purchase 28 additional acres from the Stanley estate in December 1927. Above All State Park was the 36th state park to be designated. From June 1957 to June 1968, the state park became a military installation known as the New Preston Gap-Filler RADAR Annex P-50A /Z-50A. In 1968, a dirt road and a cinder block building, a bunker, was added to the top of the hill as part of an upgrade to the site. Located behind the bunker was the launchpad for the Nike missiles, each carrying a 2-to-40 kiloton nuclear warhead. The site also functioned as the command and control center, but Bedell states that it was the command center for the twelve Nike sites across Connecticut. However, the site is also described as an unmanned gap-filler that provided low altitude coverage. The site "consisted of the radar and tower along with the building which contained the radar equipment and a diesel generator". Bedell states that the park reappeared on the maps after its decommissioning, but has since reverted to secrecy. This claim of secrecy is countered by it being listed on the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website.
In 1981, the park was the subject of a study by Northeast Utilities as a possible wind power site. An anemometer and wind vane were placed atop a 65 feet (20 m) tower and recorded wind data for at least a year.
The Above All State Park is managed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, but it is unmarked and undeveloped. The location of the military site is the subject of debate because the website Radomes states that the site is "not within a state park as earlier reported", but proceeds to give the same directions and description as Leary and Bedell. Photos included on the Radome website show the condition of the site in 2001 and 2006, both show the buildings are extant in "excellent condition", but the site says the radar tower and chain-link fencing are missing. The site has been vandalized by graffiti.
The park is accessed off Connecticut Route 341 and requires passing a barred gate before visitors. There are no markers, toilets, or other facilities at the Above All State Park; there are some informal trails near the top of the park, but these are not maintained or marked by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
- "Above All State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "Above All State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Leary, Joseph (2004). A Shared Landscape: A Guide & History of Connecticut's State Parks & Forests. Friends of the Connecticut State Parks, Inc. p. 228. ISBN 0974662909.
- Bedell, David. "Connecticut's Nuclear Weapons". Green Party of Connecticut. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- Federal Writers' Project (1938). Connecticut; a Guide to Its Roads, Lore, and People,. p. 455.
- "Park Commission To Buy 125 Acres For State Forest". The Day. January 12, 1928. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "State to Buy 28 Acres of Land on Mountain". The Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut). 9 Dec 1927. p. 13. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- Connecticut Register and Manual. State of Connecticut. 1934. p. 235.
- "SAGE New Preston". Cold War CT. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Northeast Utilities studying wind power". The Day. 17 January 1981. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Recent photos of New Preston, CT GFA". Radomes. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- Above All State Park Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection