Archive for the ‘)ur Rivers’ Category

Prominent Local Conservationist Cited for River Dumping

June 19, 2011

The Hartford Courant reports (June 15) that Richard Sweet, a past president of the Middlesex Land Trust, was cited on May 9 by CT DEP, on a complaint by Boston Road resident Al Maine, for illegal dumping of construction debris into the Coginchaug River here in Middletown. Mr. Sweet owns the Savage Arms factory site at 465 Middlefield St where the alleged dumping occurred, and another site on the same street occupied by an auto body company. He also is the steward of a 20 acre site nearby owned by Middlesex Land Trust along the Coginchaug River off of Forest St.

Also according to Hartford Courant, Richard Sweet describes the charges against him as “absolutely ridiculous”; that the debris stored on his property was swept into the Coginchaug River by the Spring freshet. The source of the debris according to news accounts is another building owned by Mr. Sweet in the city’s North End which collapsed under the weight of snow last winter; the wreckage was subsequently hauled to the Savage Arms site. Mr. Sweet has not responded to the complaint; the 30 day period for doing so expired on June 9. In response to questions Sweet said the lumber was cleaned up and “There’s no story here, It’s over.”

The Jonah Center for Earth and Art, an important watchdog and steward of the Coginchaug River, is monitoring the situation according to Executive Director John Hall.


In the photo map above we see the Coginchaug River as a dark ribbon winding from lower right to upper right. At top (green arrow) is the property at 398 Boston Road where some of the debris washed ashore according to owner Al Maine. The red marker near the bottom is the location of the Savage Arms property on Middlefield Street upriver from the Boston Road property. Directly below that red marker is where the debris must have entered the river as this area is just below the Savage Mill Dam slightly to the right.

Savage Revolving Fire Arms Company (c 1860)

This is the historic building at 465 Middlefield Street owned by Richard Sweet where the river dumping allegedly ocurred.

This close up shows demolition debris sticking out of the river bank at Richard Sweet's property, 465 Middlefield Road. It does not appear that this situation occurred accidentally or overnight. Credit John Hall

Finally there is this view of the Coginchaug River as it cascades over the Savage Mill Dam just behind the property above. The falling water here provided the motive power for the factory in the mid 19th century.

Savage Mill Dam

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Connecticut and Mattabesset River Paddle-June 18

June 6, 2011

Bill Yule, Naturalist at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, will be our educator on this paddle. We will stop for commentary and questions at Wilcox Island, the confluence of the Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, the open water of the Boggy Meadows, the proposed site of Middletown’s kayak launch, and at a sandy beach on the Coginchaug. Bill spent many hours paddling and exploring this area as a child, so he has observed its character and changes over a number of decades.

Paddlers need to provide their own boats, life jackets, paddles, drinking water, and snacks. Advance registration is not necessary, and there is no charge for the event. You may call 860-398-3771 for more information or in case of possible cancellation due to weather.

Reposted from The Jonah Center for Earth and Art

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

Recent Middletown CT Photographs

February 23, 2009

Seen lately around the city:

(mouse over for titles, click for full size and description)

Middletown Alms House (sign) R

Middletown Alms House (1814) R

Middletown Alms House (1814) R

Middletown CT Alms House (1814)
Indian Hill Cemetery Chapel, Middletown CT

Laurel Grove Rd, Middletown CT

Coginchaug River  (Winter)

The Arrigoni Bridge in Paint and Photo

January 25, 2009

The Charles J. Arrigoni Bridge crosses the Connecticut River connecting Middletown and Portland Connecticut.

Constructed from 1936 to 1938, when it opened in 1938 the Arrigoni Bridge was the most expensive bridge, costing $3.5 million. With two 600 feet (180 m) steel arches, the bridge is still the longest in the state. In 1938 it won the American Institute of Steel Construction’s first prize “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in the large bridge category.The bridge is somewhat of an icon and landmark in the area and is also a marker of where the water begins to freeze in the river (as south of this point the tides are able to bring enough salt water north to keep the water from freezing over.) It was named after the state legislator who promoted the project, Charles J. Arrigoni, and was designed by William G. Grove of the American Bridge Company and Leslie G. Sumner of the State Highway Department.

Source: Wikipedia

Bridge by Peter Waite (Acrylic on Panels)

Bridge by Peter Waite (Acrylic on Panels-2006)

New Britain (CT) Museum of American Art
h/t Ed McKeon, Middletown Eye

Steadyjohn Photos

PostcardMiddletownCTPortlandPassengerBridge1907.jpg
This is a postcard view of the Portland Passenger Bridge (1895) which was replaced by the Arrigoni Bridge.

Arrigoni Bridge from landfill summit (Middletown CT)

Arrigoni Bridge from landfill summit Middletown CT-(Steadyjohn Photo)

See Connecticut’s Historic Steel Truss Bridges

See Connecticut Roads

Middletown Photos Added

January 4, 2009

Sufferin' Cats

“Sufferin’ Cats”

We have added lots of Middletown photographs to these pages; read more….

Middletown: Some Recent Photographs

December 14, 2008

Not too much to say here; please enjoy some recent photographs from around town.

Setting sun on wires creates festive air

Setting sun on wires creates festive air

Peak of color, Palmer Field

Peak of color, Palmer Field

Coginchaug River Nov 2008

Coginchaug River Nov 2008

Washington St in the West End (Dusk)

Washington St in the West End (Dusk)

Billboard, Washington St Nov 28, '08

Billboard, Washington St Nov 28, '08

Peaceful Conginchaug River Nov 28,'08

Peaceful Coginchaug River Nov 28,'08

A Raging, Muddy Coginchaug River Dec 13, ;08

A Raging, Muddy Coginchaug River Dec 13, ;08

Middletown Environment Meetings This Week..

December 8, 2008

Item – Tuesday, December 9, 7 p.m.
At First Church of Christ, 190 Court St. in Middletown

Roger Smith, Coordinator of the Connecticut Climate Coalition and Campaign Director of Clean Water Action will tell us what is coming up in the January 2009 session of the Connecticut Legislature to improve home energy efficiency and address global warming. In what will certainly be another tough budget year, citizen action will be critical in order to pass progressive energy-related legislation and help consumers hurt by high fossil fuel prices

Item –

Attend the Public Hearing on

Middletown’s Plan of Development and Conservation

Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers

v Protecting Natural Resources & Preserving Rural Character

v Maromas: Middletown’s Last Frontier

v Protecting Water Quality

Middletown is in the process of updating its Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD). This is an important document that will help guide the City’s decision-making on planning for the next decade or more. Citizen support for these chapters will send a message to the commission and city officials that we care about our environment.

Your attendance alone will demonstrate your support for these sections of the updated plan and your interest in protecting Middletown’s natural environment.

Drafts of the chapters are available on the City’s Planning Department website at http://www.middletownplanning.com/pocd/pocdupdate.html

Source: The Jonah Center

There’s a new bridge in town. To provide access to the new CVS store on Washington Street it was necessary to bridge the Coginchaug River at West Street. Yikes!

New Coginchaug Bridge at West St

New Coginchaug Bridge at West St

River Paddle Floating Meadows: July 12 9 AM

July 6, 2008

Mattabesset and Coginchaug

River Paddle

July 12, 9 a.m.

Last year’s event was great fun!

Departure from Harbor Park at 9 a.m. to catch the end of the flood tide, so that we will be in the Floating Meadows at high tide. Professor Barry Chernoff will offer short talks on river ecology along the way. If you plan to attend and if you wish to be informed in case of cancellation due to weather, email Hall.john.c@sbcglobal.net

Dugout Paddlers Off For Florida….

June 8, 2008

Dugout Paddlers Off For Florida
Middletown Press reports today:

MIDDLETOWN — With a grey-clouded sky over the river five brave boaters set out for Key West in dugout canoes Thursday.

Setting forth in two handcrafted dugouts, Captain George Frick and four crew members headed down the Connecticut River towards Saybrook and the open water beyond. They are then to head down Long Island Sound to New York and then traverse the Inland (IntraCoastal) Waterway to Florida, a journey that will take about 6 weeks. We reported earlier on the making of the canoes and on an earlier trip down river to Greenport, Long Island. The photo at top is from an earlier excursion on the river and the one below is a view of two incomplete dugouts taken in Harbor Park, Middletown last year. A full account of the earlier trip can be read here and here (PDF). The top photo is from that site.

Here is an excerpt from a web site documenting the building of the canoes:
THE PROJECT
Getting the tree
An Eastern cottonwood tree — 60 feet in length and 12 feet in circumference — had been
identified on Wilcox Island under the Arrigoni Bridge. Ron Klattenberg, Middletown City
Council member and project organizer, observed that there were several auspicious signs
for this project. The first was the weather. The massive tree identified to be cut down for the
project fell during a storm; then subsequent days of rain helped wash the tree trunk down
parallel to the river for launching.
The cottonwood was floated downriver to Harbor Park in Middletown. Clients went
upriver to watch the process. Not only were the clients watching, so were police, fire and
Coast Guard boats. Everyone marveled at how George Frick, president of Friends of the
Connecticut River, was able to manage to straddle the tree without falling off, then to bring
it to shore.
Crafting the canoe: Trial and error
Now it was time for the AIC clients to begin the arduous and grueling process of chopping,
burning, and carving the tree into a canoe. Under the guidance of George Frick and Ron
Klattenberg, the young men set to work hollowing and carving out the dugout canoe. For
a month they burned the wood to make it soft, then dug out the tree, all the while using
primitive tools. Each day they carved, cooked lunch over the burning embers, then carved
some more. While there are no historical records as to how the Indians in fact crafted these
boats, Frick had some knowledge of the methods and type of shape that would be necessary
to make this journey successful.