Pequonnock River

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Coordinates: 41°09′24″N 73°10′48″W / 41.15667°N 73.18000°W / 41.15667; -73.18000
Pequonnock River
Pequonnock T1.jpg
Upriver view from the Daniels Farm Road bridge in Trumbull, CT.
Country USA
State Connecticut
Counties Fairfield
Source Pequonnock River Watershed
 - location Lantern Drive & CT Route 25, Monroe, Connecticut, USA
Mouth Bridgeport Harbor Light on Long Island Sound
 - location Bridgeport, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
 - elevation 0 ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 41°09′24″N 73°10′48″W / 41.15667°N 73.18000°W / 41.15667; -73.18000
Length 16.7 mi (27 km)
Basin 0.125 sq mi (0 km2)

The Pequonnock River is a 16.7-mile-long (26.9 km)[1] waterway in eastern Fairfield County, Connecticut, flowing through the city of Bridgeport. The river has a penchant for flooding, particularly in spring since the removal of a retention dam in Trumbull in the 1950s.[2] There seems to be a sharp difference of opinion among historians as to just what the Indian word Pequonnock signifies. Some insist it meant cleared field or open ground; others are sure it meant broken ground; while a third group is certain it meant place of slaughter or place of destruction.[3][4]

Geography[edit]

The eastern branch river flows southerly from Monroe through Trumbull past the Old Mine Park Archeological Site and continues to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, merging at the mouth of Bridgeport Harbor with Long Island Sound at the Bridgeport Harbor Light. [5] The river is dammed in Bridgeport by the Bunnell's Pond Dam (41°12′29″N 73°11′13″W / 41.208°N 73.187°W / 41.208; -73.187)[6] near the Beardsley Zoo.

The western branch of the river flows southeasterly in a wide "S" pattern from near the Monroe border with Newtown, Connecticut. The two branches link in Monroe east of the intersection of Route 25 and Purdy Hill Road (41°18′01″N 73°14′45″W / 41.3004°N 73.2458°W / 41.3004; -73.2458). Less than a mile south of that point in Trumbull, a tributary called North Farrars Brook joins the Pequonnock. Hedgehog Creek and Belden Brook in Trumbull flow into the river southwest of the intersection of Route 25 and Daniels Farm Road. The fourth tributary is Booth Hill Brook, also in Trumbull. It merges northeast of the Route 25 interchange with Route 15 (41°14′23″N 73°11′09″W / 41.2396°N 73.1858°W / 41.2396; -73.1858). The fifth and final tributary is Island Brook, which joins the river in Bridgeport south of Bunnell Pond and north of the River Street Bridge (41°11′49″N 73°11′12″W / 41.1970°N 73.1867°W / 41.1970; -73.1867). Island Brook is dammed in Bridgeport by the Forest Lake Dam. (41°13′12″N 73°12′25″W / 41.220°N 73.207°W / 41.220; -73.207)[7][8]

Crossings and navigation[edit]

The walking bridge at Old Mine Park Archeological Site.

There were no bridges crossing the river until after the Revolutionary War.[9] The first bridge opened in 1798 [10] and led to the foundation of Bridgeport.

Bridgeport

  • The southernmost mile of the river is navigable from Long Island Sound by most vessels.[11]
  • The Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge was constructed in 1902 and is a notable crossing in Bridgeport. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
  • Bridgeport has multiple drawbridge crossings including the Stratford Avenue Bridge, the railroad bridge, the Congress Street Bridge, the East Washington Avenue bridge and the Grand Street bridge.[12] The Congress Street bridge is impassable (since 1997) due to being frozen in the open position.[13] The movable leaves of Congress Street Bridge were taken out in May 2010. The Grand street bridge was demolished in 2011.

Trumbull

  • A wooden walking bridge is located at Old Mine Park Archeological Site.
  • The Twin Brooks Bridge (or Liz's Bridge) carries Brock Street over the river, connecting Twin Brooks Park to Route 127. It is the only covered bridge on the river.[14]
Liz's bridge in Trumbull.

History[edit]

Pequonnock village[edit]

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Pequonnock Indians of the Paugussett nation lived on the banks of the river. One village on the west bank of the Pequonnock consisted of about five or six hundred inhabitants in approximately 150 lodgings.[15] The first English settlement on the west bank of the mouth of the Pequonnock was made in about 1665 and was called Pequonnock.[16] This village was renamed Newfield sometime before 1777.[17] During the American Revolution, Newfield was a center of privateering.[18] In 1800, Newfield village was chartered as the borough of Bridgeport, forming the nucleus for the city of Bridgeport.[19]

Mills[edit]

Abandoned millstone in Trumbull at the Daniel Hawley site.
Trumbull National Guard Unit Co. C 8th Reg. of the Connecticut National Guard, Commanded by Capt. Charles E. Plumb, circa 1867. The Grist Mill in the background was built by Gideon and Ephraim Hawley in 1722 at White Plains Trumbull

In January 1722, Gideon and Ephraim Hawley agreed to build or rebuild a mill or mills on the stream of the Pequonnock River at the narrows by White Plain just west of White Plains Road.[20] In the mid-18th century, Daniel Hawley built a mill "at the spring on the Pequonnock River" along White Plains Road just north of Daniels Farm Road in Trumbull Center. Daniel, who resided just northeast of the present bridge, was a grand nephew of Gideon and Ephraim Hawley and great grandson of Ephraim Hawley.

Reuben Fairchild and his brothers, Daniel and Eben built the Fairchild Paper Mill in 1826 at a place commonly called since 1674 as the "Falls" of the Pequonnock River. They were guided in their endeavors by Andrew Tait, who had learned the art of paper making in Scotland. Fairchild Paper Mill was the first mill to make white note paper. The company also ran a boarding house for its female employees. The mill stood to the west of White Plains Road near what is today the entrance to Fairchild Memorial Park.[21][22]

Housatonic Railroad[edit]

From 1840 to 1931, a 15-mile (24 km) segment of the Housatonic Railroad ran along much of the river with stations at Bridgeport, North Bridgeport (Lyons), Trumbull, Long Hill, Stepney, Pepper (Pepper Crossing) & Botsford, finally terminating in New Milford, Connecticut. The Railroad also maintained the Parlor Rock Amusement Park.[23][24] The railroad was ripped up and replaced with Connecticut Route 8 up to Trumbull, north of which became Pequonnock River Valley State Park.[25]

Historic events[edit]

  • 11 January 2010: a man was killed when his car fell into the river.[26]
  • 18 July 2007: The dismembered corpse of Charles Gerber was found floating in a barrel near the Stratford Avenue Bridge.[27]
  • 29 December 1989: for $9,275,000 the 382-acre (1.55 km2) Pequonnock River Valley State Park was founded.[28]
  • 1964: Dredging of Bridgeport Harbor by the Army Corps of Engineers.[29]
  • 16 September 1933: the body of notorious Bridgeport gang boss Patsy Santoro was found in the river.[30]
  • 30 July 1905: A major flood caused 52 people to be drowned and devastation as houses were swept downriver. The schooner Hope Haynes hit a bridge, causing a fire which led to a massive gas line explosion in Bridgeport.[31]
  • 1836: Andrew Tait built a paper and strawboard mill in Trumbull.[32]

Recreational activities[edit]

  • (Mountain) Biking & Hiking: There are several bicycle and hiking trails in Pequonnock River Valley State Park.[33]
  • Fishing: The Connecticut DEP stocks the river with a variety of fish before the spring fishing season.[34]
  • Hunting: Bird hunting is legal in Pequonnock River Valley State Park from October 20 to December 22 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Watershed[edit]

The Pequonnock River watershed is approximately 80 acres (320,000 m2), located at the head of the river in Monroe where it feeds the Easton Reservoir.[35]

Water quality[edit]

The river was measured for e. coli on ten separate dates from May through September 2009. Results concluded that the river is to be considered class B (on the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection rating system[36]) from the watershed through Trumbull and to the entry of Bunnell Pond in Bridgeport. Areas further south on the river such as the Washington Street Bridge and into Bridgeport Harbor have considerably higher levels of e.coli and are correspondingly more polluted.[37]

Other uses of the word Pequonnock[edit]

  • Pequonnock Iron Works Inc. - A metal fabrication company in Bridgeport.[38]
  • Pequonnock National Bank - A bank in Bridgeport in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[39]
  • Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge
  • Pequonnock Road, in Trumbull.[40]
  • Pequonnock Yacht Club [41]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 1, 2011
  2. ^ "THE WEEK; Towns Seek Flood-Prevention Solutions". The New York Times. 6 May 2007. 
  3. ^ Elsie Nicholas Danenberg, The Story of Bridgeport, The Bridgeport Centennial, Inc., 1936, p. 20
  4. ^ Dorothy Seeley, Tales of Trumbull's Past, Trumbull Historical Society, 1984, p. 337
  5. ^ "Project Information Page". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Pequonnock River Basin, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Forest Lake Dam CT 00078. Phase I Inspection Report. National Dam Inspection Program. Oai.dtic.mil. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  8. ^ "http://www.conservect.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2wepviV9VVg%3d&tabid=459". conservect.org. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  9. ^ A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut - Samuel Orcutt - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  10. ^ New York To New Haven. Oldandsold.com (1911-07-11). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ 117.219 - Pequonnock River. - Subpart B: Specific Requirements - Code of Federal Regulations - Title 33: Navigation and Navigable Waters - July 01, 2010 - Order: 117.219 - 19754990 - Subpart B: Specific Requirements - Id 19754990 - vLex. Cfr.vlex.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  13. ^ http://www.greenwichtime.com/default/article/Nature-s-stately-beauty-amid-urban-ruins-178861.php.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "Connecticut Covered Bridges Guide New England Covered Bridge Photographs CT Covered Bridges CTLiving.com". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  15. ^ Waldo, v1 1917, pp. 2, 14.
  16. ^ Waldo, v1 1917, pp. 14--16.
  17. ^ Orcutt, v1 1886, p. 609.
  18. ^ "Bridgeport, Conn.". The Encyclopedia Americana: a library of universal knowledge 4. New York: Encyclopedia Americana Corp. 1918. p. 527. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  19. ^ Waldo, v1 1917, pp. 37--38.
  20. ^ Orcutt, Vol. 2 pg. 1007
  21. ^ Pictorial History of Trumbull pg. 57
  22. ^ Orcutt, Vol 2 pg. 1060
  23. ^ Trumbull's Early Public Transportation. Trumbullhistory.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  24. ^ "Pequonnock River Greenway". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  25. ^ Housatonic Rail-Trail in Trumbull (Pequonnock Valley Greenway) | Connecticut Trails. TrailLink.com (2013-06-05). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  26. ^ Man Killed When Car Plunges Into River. NBC Connecticut (2010-01-11). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  27. ^ http://www.greenwichtime.com/default/article/Man-gets-jail-for-gruesome-body-in-barrel-case-43682.php.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ Pequonnock River Valley. Trumbullhistory.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  29. ^ [3][dead link]
  30. ^ "Sunday Herald - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  31. ^ Bridgeport, CT Flood, Jul 1905 | GenDisasters ... Genealogy in Tragedy, Disasters, Fires, Floods.. gendisasters.com (2007-10-22). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  32. ^ Pequonnock River Valley State Park. Nynjctbotany.org (2005-09-24). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  33. ^ New England Mountain Bike Association - Places To Ride. NEMBA. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  34. ^ Kynd Outdoors - Outdoor Destination Information. Flyfishingcommunity.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  35. ^ Newtown, Connecticut Water Supply Resources. Hvceo.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  36. ^ Department of Environmental Protection (2014-08-05). "DEEP: Fact Sheet for the Water Quality Standards and Classifications". ct.gov. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  37. ^ "http://www.conservect.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=HnF9oexIKtw%3d&tabid=459". conservect.org. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  38. ^ "Pequonnock Iron Works Inc in Bridgeport, CT 06608 - ChamberofCommerce.com". chamberofcommerce.com. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  39. ^ Waldo, G.C. (1917). History of Bridgeport and Vicinity 2. S. J. Clarke Publishing. p. 268. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  40. ^ "pequonnock road trumbull ct - Google Maps". maps.google.com. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  41. ^ Commission on Official Legal Publications (25 February 2002). "Pequonnock Yacht Club, Inc. v. Bridgeport". Retrieved 2014-10-24. 

References[edit]