Way Back When ... 1958
Back in 1968, the Town of Fairfield acquired the open space known as Perry’s Mill Ponds. Located on the east side of Bronson Road, north of the Sturges Bridge on the east side of the Mill River, this area is 81.41 acres and is used for hiking, fishing and education.
Back in May of 2011 the Fairfield Citizen published an article by retired pediatrician Ron Blumfeld, about this particular open space. He offered a bit of the history of the location. “It offers an easy and interesting hike of an hour or so but also a chance to walk into history. A notable artifact of Fairfield’s origins is just off the trail as you start out — Perry’s Mill and dam. Established in 1680, it burned down in 1705. The Town reclaimed the property and quickly sold it to Joseph Perry, who rebuilt the mill at its permanent site. The dam provided waterpower for Perry and his descendants to mill grain until the milling business faded along with local agriculture. The last Perry to own the property converted the mill building into a private residence and sold it in 1949, honorably ending a two-century run. A section of the dam was taken down in 1958 to relieve upstream flooding. An intrepid bushwhacker can find a short trail below the dam along the “natural” river.”
Through the Open Space Program, the Town of Fairfield’s Conservation Department manages or administers over 1,100 acres of Town-owned upland forest, lakes, rivers, salt marsh, wetlands and meadows throughout inland and coastal Fairfield. The Town’s efforts to acquire open space have provided land for active recreational parcels, for beaches, golf courses, ball fields, and marinas, and for passive recreational parcels as well. These passive recreational parcels provide opportunities for uses such as hiking, fishing, nature study, picnicking, camping, horseback riding and other outdoor activities. In addition, they enhance and conserve natural resources, protect fish and wildlife habitats, and contribute significantly to the beautiful rural characteristics that are so much a part of the Town of Fairfield.
Tomorrow, in conjunction with its Rising Tides exhibition, the Fairfield Museum is offering a walking tour at Perry’s Mill Ponds at noon. The cost is $5 per person and advance registration is required. Visit http://www.fairfieldhistory.org/event/wetlands-walking-tour-2/ for more information and to register. Volunteers from the Mill River Wetland Committee will guide the tours and offer lessons about the ecology of our local river basin system. Attendees will make a model river and observe the different habitat areas created by the work of the river. In addition, they will discover the importance of protecting our endangered wetlands. (This experience is similar to the hands-on learning that students in grades 3-6 across Fairfield experience through the MRWC’s River-lab program.) A similar walking tour will be offered next weekend, October 22, at the Ash Creek estuary at South Benson Marina. For more information contact the Fairfield Museum at Fairfieldhistory.org or at 203-259-1598.
Learn more about the history and culture of Fairfield, view rotating exhibitions and purchase Fairfield-themed gifts at the Fairfield Museum and History Center, 370 Beach Road. 203-259-1598; Fairfieldhistory.org. The Museum and Museum Shop are open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The year Fairfield acquired the open space known as Perry’s Mill Ponds.