Collis P. Huntington State Park

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Coordinates: 41°21′00″N 73°21′18″W / 41.35000°N 73.35500°W / 41.35000; -73.35500
Collis P. Huntington State Park
Connecticut State Park
HuntingtonBears.jpg
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
County Fairfield
Towns Bethel, Newtown, Redding
Elevation 791 ft (241 m) [1]
Coordinates 41°21′00″N 73°21′18″W / 41.35000°N 73.35500°W / 41.35000; -73.35500
Area 1,017 acres (412 ha)
Opened 1973 [2]
Management Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Location in Connecticut
Website: Huntington State Park
The Luttgen mansion that burned down before the Huntington's bought the property

Collis P. Huntington State Park is a Connecticut state park that spreads into three towns: Redding, Newtown, and Bethel. It is composed of 1,017 acres (412 ha) of fields and dense woodlands, including five ponds, and is characterized by Anna Hyatt Huntington's lifelike sculptures of bears and wolves that greet park visitors upon their arrival.[2] The park was donated to the citizens of Connecticut by the heirs of railroad magnate Collis Potter Huntington, for whom the park is named.

History[edit]

The land saw the development of its parklike features—the present service roads, trails, and artificial ponds—in the late 19th century under the ownership of Commodore Walther Luttgen, a prominent New York banker, industrialist and yachtsman.[3] One of Luttgen's improvements, a short, stone "lighthouse," still stands on one of the islands, and the remains of a steam paddlewheeler that once plied the waters of the largest pond are thought to lie sunken somewhere in the park.[2]

The estate, including Luttgen's mansion Villa Linta, was acquired upon Luttgen's death in 1922 by Joseph E. Sterrett, a principal with the accounting firm of Price, Waterhouse.[4] After the villa burned down, the land was acquired from the Sterrett family by Archer M. Huntington, the philanthropist stepson of industrialist Collis Potter Huntington.

Archer Huntington and his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington moved to the estate, now called Stanerigg, in 1939.[5] Here Mrs. Huntington worked with clay and scaffolding in her studio creating works of realistic sculpture while Mr. Huntington pursued his interests as a poet, Spanish scholar, and patron of the arts. In addition to the bears and wolves that welcome visitors at the entrance of the park, Anna Hyatt Huntington's heroic sculpture of General Israel Putnam can be found at Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding. Her work can also be found at Atalaya Castle—the couple's winter quarters—and Brookgreen Gardens, which are both part of the Atalaya and Brookgreen Gardens national historic landmark in South Carolina.

After Mrs. Huntington's death, Collis P. Huntington State Park was opened to the public in 1973.

Activities and amenities[edit]

The park has trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Trails include the northern section of the Aspetuck Valley Trail. Park ponds are available for canoeing and fishing. Archery-only deer hunting is offered from mid-September through December.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Huntington State Park". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Collis P. Huntington State Park". Connecticut DEEP. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  3. ^ "About Walther Luttgen". History of Redding. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  4. ^ "The History of Huntington State Park in Redding, Connecticut". History of Redding. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  5. ^ "Anna Hyatt Huntington". New World Encyclopedia. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 

External links[edit]