Archive for the ‘Middletown’ Category

Birds in the Winter

January 19, 2011

Unlike veteran field birder and blogger Brownstone Birder I don’t feel comfortable with field I.D. of many smaller birds. However, this year’s harsh Winter season has provided many occasions to view birds at close range at my feeders. I have managed to photograph birds that I have seldom, or perhaps never, seen in field and wood. Attached herein are several photographs of birds seen through my back window here in Middletown. (Note: a loss of image clarity is the inevitable result of shooting through window panes; oh, and please correct me if I have misidentified any bird) (All photos: click to enlarge)

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Carolina Wren

Song Sparrow

Mourning Dove

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Middletown Photographer Jason Neely Exhibiting at New England Emporium Starting Jan 14

January 16, 2011

Four New England Landscapes-Jason Neely

Reposted from Middletown Patch

  • Jason Neely, a Middletown photographer, is displaying his work at the New England Emporium beginning on January 14th.  The New England Landscapes series is made up of twenty photographs taken in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut–including many from Middletown.

    Jason’s work was featured in the August 2009 issue of National Geographic magazine and was also used by the band Weezer on their 2010 release “Raditude.”

    A portion of all sales will go to the Middlesex Cancer Center.

Exhibit and Dining Space at New England Emporium

Jason Neely Photographs Exhibited at New England Emporium

Amatos Toy and Hobby – 70 Years in Middletown: A Look at a Man’s Hobbies and Some History of Railroading in CT

August 1, 2010

The photos in this post were made July 25, 2010 in Middletown CT at Amatos Toy and Hobby store on Main Street. (click to enlarge any photo) The event is described in an article in The Middletown Press:

“MIDDLETOWN — More than 150 members of the National Lionel Operating Train Society attended a private showing of a 3,000-square-foot train exhibit at the 70th Anniversary celebration of Amato’s Toy and Hobby Store Wednesday evening.

The train exhibit includes seven operating model train layouts and local railroad memorabilia along with the never-before displayed, extensive pre-war Lionel train collection of Amato’s owner and founder, Vincent Amato.

“The visual of what everyone has put together is really neat,” said Diane Amato, Vincent’s daughter and coordinator of the event. “When you see this room, you will be amazed….”
www.middletownpress.com/articles/2010/07/14/business/doc4…

Amatos Toy and Hobby is located at 395 Main Street; Middletown CT 06457

In addition to the wonderful layouts of operating model trains of various gauges there were showcases of Mr. Amato’s collections of trains and other toys. Also, much memorabilia and information about early railroading in Middletown. So, I have included some historical photos and information later in this post.

Vincent Amato, Prop. and Train Collector Extraordinaire

O'Rourke's Diner - Main Street, Middletown

One of the seven model train layouts

Model Train Layout with Winter Motif


Mr. Amato's Personal Collection of Lionel Standard Gauge Trains

Shipyard Scene in Miniature

A few words and photographs about early railroading in Middletown and central Connecticut: From the late 19th century and well into the 20th Middletown was a busy railroad center with several North/South and East/West lines passing through the city. In 1888, for example, 29 passenger trains passed through here on a daily basis. Even though all passenger service was discontinued by the middle of the 20th century there is still active freight service in the city. The most interesting reminder of the glory days of railroading in Connecticut Valley is the iron swing bridge connecting Middletown with Porland. This bridge was constructed in 1884 to carry the so called “White Train” of the New York and Boston Airline RR across the Connecticut River, and thence through the rolling hills of eastern Connecticut to Massachusetts and on to Boston. (see photo below)

The White Train commenced operations in 1891. Popularly known as the Ghost Train. It was made up of gleaming white coaches trimmed with gold. The parlor cars’ interiors were finished in mahogany and furnished with velvet rugs, silk curtains and upholstered plush chairs. The train’s schedule was so well advertised that people came from miles around to wait at stations or crossing to see it go by. The fast express was replaced in 1895 by the Air Line Limited.(see 2nd photo below) The Airline Railroad fell into decline because of the need for heavier equipment and longer trains which could not navigate the steep grades and numerous curves. Although the name Airline Route gives one the impression of a straight and level roadbed, this was not the case here.

Airline Railroad Swing Bridge Connecticut River-Middletown to Portland

The White Train or Ghost Train

Four of the early Middletown Train Stations (none remain)

Railroad Man and His Dog - Middletown Depot

Educational Paddle-Connecticut R & Boggy Meadows-Sat June 5

May 31, 2010

Jonah Center News

Educational Paddle

Saturday, June 5,

Launch time: at 9 a.m from Harbor Park near the boathouses.

Leader-Contact person: Beth Emery, ctladycyclist@gmail.com

Be part of the CT Trails Day Celebration and have a paddle! This event, co-hosted by the CT Forest and Park Association and The Jonah Center for Earth and Art, will take place in the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the Boggy Meadows where those two rivers converge. The tour departs from Harbor Park on the CT river in Middletown, Sat. June 5 at 9 a.m. Paddlers will return to the starting point between 12 and 1 p.m. Conditions permitting there will be 2 stops along a river bank. Paddlers need to provide their own boat, paddle, lifejacket, drinking water, snacks, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing.

River historian and environmental journalist Erik Hesselberg will provide us with a historical overview of how these rivers have been used, traveled and misused over the years. Trip participants will be encouraged to pick up plastic bottles, cans, and other debris as part of the Jonah Center’s ongoing effort to beautify and protect our local waterways.

This event is free and advance registration is not necessary. CT Forest and Parks requires that you sign a waiver form to participate.  Call (860) 984-6178 for more information or to learn about a possible last minute cancellation due to weather conditions or river waters above flood stage.

In the Mattabesset River,August 2008

Here we head upriver towards the two bridges

Samuel Wadsworth Russell House (1828)

May 9, 2010


Samuel Wadsworth Russell House (1828)

Originally uploaded by Steadyjohn

Samuel Wadsworth Russell House (1828)

High Street, corner Washington Street; Middletown, Connecticut. May 7, 2010.

This Greek Revival masterpiece was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001. This house is frequently cited as one of the premier examples of Greek Revival Architecture in the Northeast. The house remained in the Russell family for five generations and was finally deeded to Wesleyan University in 1937.

Samuel Russell (1789-1862) became fabulously wealthy in the China trade in the early 19th century. He smuggled Turkish and Bengal opium into Canton and brought back fine porcelain, silk, and tea to Europe and the United States. In 1828 when his house was built Russell was in Canton, and his friend Samuel D. Hubbard worked with Mrs. Russell to supervise the building of the house. In 1831 Russell returned to Middletown and his new home where he resided until his death in 1862.

Source 1: Historic Buildings of Connecticut

Source 2: Wikipedia

Additional Photos from the site:

Iron Gate and Shadows

Samuel Russell House (1828)

Some Recent Photos From Around Middletown CT

February 14, 2010

First Year Hawk
First year hawk, most likely Red Tail, seen Coginchaug River vicinity

Wetmore-Starr House (1752)
The Wetmore-Starr House (1752) Washington St

Kid City Children's Museum
The Kid City Childrens Museum; Washington Street

Little House in the Graveyard
Graveyard scene; Vine Street

Wesleyan U. College Row fm High Street
College Row Panorama; High Street

Note: You may click on the photos for more information and image sizes; you will be redirected to my Flickr page.

Middletown Honors The Greatest Generation: Our WW II Vets

May 25, 2009

(this post also appears today at Right of Middle)

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The 2009 Middletown Connecticut Memorial Day parade and ceremonies were dedicated to our World War II veterans, The Greatest Generation.

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Marty Reardon Sr., (pictured below) commander of the 7th District of the American Legion, will speak. After 15 years as commander, Reardon is stepping down.

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The keynote address was given by U.S. Army Captain Gluth, who heads the recruitment services office in New Haven.

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Am enthusiastic crowd lined both sides of Main Street to watch the hour long parade. There were contingents of marching bands, little leaguers, boy and girl scouts, fraternal and service organizations, military formations, farm tractors, and of course, a selection of fire apparatus, old and new, from Middletown and several nearby towns. Our mayor, Sebastian Giuliano, and the Connecticut Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz, and Rep. Rosa Delauro were on hand as well as other local politicians.

Joy Ride Middletown Ct Memorial Parade

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The last photo is from the ceremony at the South Green where the wreath laying took place. Pictured are two vets in colorful biker regalia. Mayor Sebastian Giuliano is visible (grey suit) on the platform, between the men.

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And finally, a video of some of the parade:

Ringing in the New Year on a Snowy Eve….

January 1, 2009

What could be better than the Liberty Bell to ring in the New Year!

freedoms-ring

We had a delightful snowfall most of today in Middletown leaving us with a bitterly cold night to begin 2009. Mid afternoon found us socked in downtown:
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Sufferin’ Cats!
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O’Rourke’s Diner Redux….

February 11, 2008

Brian O’Rourke opened his, or should we say the community’s, diner today for the first time since the disastrous fire many moons ago. According to the staff it was gangbusters from 5 Am ’till closing at 3 PM. I didn’t get a chance to interview Brian this afternoon but hope to do so in the near future.

Vote Yes on Farmland Preservation Nov 6

November 3, 2007

Question 2. on the Nov 6 Ballot in Middletown reads:

“Shall the $2,000,000 appropriation and bond authorization for acquisition of open space and farm lands, as adopted by the Common Council, be approved?”

Previous bond sales totaling $8 million have helped finance the purchase of nearly 700 acres of woodlands and recreation space in the past 18 years – land that likely would have become housing subdivisions had it not been preserved.This new measure would focus on the preservation of farmland.

If approved by the voters, the additional $2 million could trigger up to $4 million in matching state grants, allowing the city to buy or preserve a total of 500 more acres.

“We have a very good track record with the state; in well over 90 percent of our applications, we’ve won the matching funds,” Middletown Conservation Commission member Michael Ennis said. “Open space purchases pay for themselves over time by saving tax dollars, and all of that develop able land is like fruit [hanging] from a vine, waiting to be plucked.”

In these instances, the city either buys the real estate or the development rights. The latter option allows a farming family to continue to work their land if they choose…… Every hour, another acre of land is chewed up by developers. To demonstrate these numbers and to honor land which has been preserved, Middletown Conservation Commission Member Michael Ennis rose before dawn, and three minutes before sunrise, he began a sit-in at The Guida Farm Conservation Area, a 100-acre pasture that was once a dairy farm.
At 7:13 a.m., Ennis arrived on the open meadow, spread out his blanket and began a sit-in. Each hour and a quarter, he moves an acre and marks the 40,000-square-foot area with orange cones. Each year, 7,000 acres of land are developed, Ennis said. That translates to 19 acres a day, or one acre every hour and a quarter. “This is more or less the amount of land we lose every day, open space, to developers,” Ennis said, indicating the rolling green meadow around him.

Source: Middletown Press

Here is cover photo from the November issue of The Chronicle picturing members of the Guida family of Sunshine Dairy and member of the Lee family from Lee Farm. These farms, along with others, could qualify for preservation if the bonding is approved. Credit: staff photographer Tom Keyes, Sr

Here is a portion of an article from the same issue about the farms: (see also our previous posting Farmland Preservation News and Jonah Center page in the sidebar)