Devil's Hopyard State Park
|Devil's Hopyard State Park|
|Connecticut State Park|
|Elevation||194 ft (59 m) |
|Area||1,000 acres (405 ha) |
|Management||Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection|
|Website: Devil's Hopyard State Park|
Devil's Hopyard State Park is a state park located in the town of East Haddam, Connecticut at scenic Chapman Falls on the Eightmile River. The 1,000-acre (400 ha) park is used for hiking, stream fishing, bird watching, bicycling, picnicking, camping, and youth group camping.
In 1775, the Sons of Liberty attacked a mill owned by pro-British loyalists on this site. A portion of the broken millstone was found at the foot of the falls in 2002. The story is related in signage that was erected after the discovery (pictured at left).
The park's falls powered "Beebe's Mills" (named after the original owner) until the 1890s. The site was acquired by the state for use as a state park in 1919 in response to logging operations that were taking place in the area.
On March 26, 2012, a large brush fire occurred in the park. Firefighters from fourteen towns worked to control the blaze, including burning out the area behind two threatened households. The fire consumed more than fifty acres of the park over two days before authorities decided to let it burn itself out. It is unclear how the fire started, but officials noted that hikers may have been the cause.
At some time prior to 1800, there was a malt house near a small tributary of the Eightmile River called Malt House Brook, on George Griffin’s farm. Although the malt house was abandoned prior to 1814, during the period of its operation, Griffin grew hops in a small clearing—the "hopyard"—beside the road running through the area now called Devil's Hopyard.
Theories as to why the area was named “Devil's” Hopyard range from a landowner named Dibble to supernatural explanations for the naturally occurring potholes near the falls. A sign in the park (pictured at left) has more on the legends of the etymology of the park's name.
The principal feature of the park, Chapman Falls, drops more than 60 feet (18 m) over a series of steps in a Scotland schist stone formation. Vista Point, which is located at the end of the Blue Trail, is a cliff that stands 150 to 175 feet (53 m) above the Eightmile River. Other attractions include the "mini falls" and three highway bridges listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- "Devil's Hopyard State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (January 23, 2014). "State Parks and Forests: Funding" (PDF). Staff Findings and Recommendations. Connecticut General Assembly. p. A-1. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- "Devil's Hopyard State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Bowles, Adam (January 25, 2004). "Uncovering a Millstone Who-Done-It". New York Times. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "Ask The Courant". The Courant. January 29, 2001. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
- Benson, Judy (March 28, 2012). "Devil's Hopyard State Park charred by fire; trails closed for now". TheDay.com. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Smith, William, Dahlem, Liz, Hanrahan, Ryan (March 28, 2012). "Dry conditions cause more brush fires". NBC Connecticut. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
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Devil's Hopyard State Park Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection