Gay City State Park
|Gay City State Park|
|Connecticut state park|
Split Rock formation on Split Rock Trail in Gay City State Park (Connecticut).
|- elevation||577 ft (176 m) |
|Area||1,569 acres (635 ha)|
|Management||Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection|
Gay City State Park is the site of an abandoned 18th-century mill town in Hebron, Connecticut. All that remains of the original Gay City are water ditches, the foundations of old houses, and stone walls, a New England tradition. The park is located on Route 85, on the Bolton town border.
The name "Gay City" comes from the name of the ancient mill town the park includes, named after the Gay family. First settled in 1796 by Elijah Andrus, leader of a religious sect, it grew to a mill-town of about 25 families, the majority of them were Gays. The residents kept to themselves and lived separately from other towns. They built a sawmill on the Blackledge River and a wool mill that became a successful business until the war of 1812. The mill was burned to the ground in 1830 triggering an exodus of the families to the urban mill cities. A paper mill was later built which revitalised the town but that too burned to the ground after the Civil War and the town was abandoned. Local lore has it that the park is haunted.
Ecology and geography
The park has deep forest to hike through, a dammed pond that attracts ducks, streams, and marshland. The Blackledge River flows through the park. The park has a large amount of forest where plenty of wildlife can be seen and is bordered by a part of the Meshomasic State Forest.
Guests can fish and swim in a large lifeguarded pond surrounded by picnic tables. An impressive trail system guides visitors through the park and surrounding forests. Guests can hike, mountain bike, ride horseback, or cross-country ski on the trail system. A trail also connects Gay City to the Blackledge Falls park in Glastonbury and another leads through the surrounding Meshomasic State Forest to Birch Mountain Road in Glastonbury where one can access the Case Mountain trail system. Gay City has many picnic areas with tables and grills, and also has a youth campground.
- "Gay City". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1979-09-12. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- "Gay City State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- Bendici, Ray. "Gay City, Hebron". Damned Connecticut. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- "Gay City State Park Ghost". Connecticut Ghost Seekers. November 21, 2009. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- Gay City State Park Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
- Gay City State Park Trail Map