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Peter’s Rock History, Legends and Folklore

I will never forget Peter’s Rock ...

Whether you are an established North Haven resident or a new transplant, most can understand the idea that memories are the ties that bind. I have written in past issues of childhood treks to the top of Peter’s Rock, with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches packed in a lunch box and Koolaide in a thermos. The vista now is as timeless as then. Seldom is there a time that I don’t run into someone hiking on the rock who doesn’t have an old memory to share or perhaps they are making new ones with kids or grandkids in tow. Sometimes it’s a scout troop of eleven year-olds, not realizing that someday they will ramble on about their time on the rock.

FROM: Dave Gould
I got gas at the station next to the park entrance today and then drove into the Peter’s Rock parking area, parked and tried to remember back to about 1951 and our North Haven Boy Scout Camporee held on the ‘Rock’. That probably was my first time there.
I will never forget Peter’s Rock. From the age of 10/11 into my high school years. I spent many hours alone and with my Montowese friends, exploring, climbing the rocks and trails, enjoying the magnificent views, hiking, having lunch in the cave, drinking from the spring, camping overnight, just being a country boy during the early 50’s there. My love of the woods and hills, good ole Mother Nature, was started there. I guess I might not have become an Eagle Scout and Scout Master without those early years spent on Peter’s Rock.

When Art White and I were about 11, Mr. Bill Hadley and his friends, Mr. Losaw, Messinger, and Ward formed a Committee to organize and oversee our Montowese Boy Scout Troup 8. Mr. Bascilicato was our Scout Master, Bob White, Brad Pierce, Charlie Beckman, and Alphonse Bascilacato, I think, were our Jr. Assistant Scout Masters. The troop was broken into various patrols; ours was the Woodpecker Patrol. Our first Patrol Leader was Alan Hadley. Other members were Billy O’Bier, Tom Cxypolinski, Ronny DuPaul, Dick Augur, Art White, Bobby Moosdorf and me.

In 1951, North Haven troops from Montowese, the Center and Ridge Rd., all took part in what was maybe the first Boy Scout Camporee there at Peter’s Rock. Anyone there then, I don’t think, will forget our hurricane like weather filled weekend camp out. We had camp buglers, Tommy Pearsall, Don Hurley, and me. For many of us, this was our first time ever sleeping in a tent in the woods, making our fires and cooking on them. We learned how to dig trenches around our tents preventing us from getting soaked by the heavy rain we experienced that first night there. Throughout our Camporee that weekend, we played Scout games, made our camps as neat and safe as we could trying to win competitions between patrols and troops. This might have been the first time many of us ever met a lot of the scouts from other parts of town. It happened that 1951 was the first year our new high school opened, thus the first year in history that kids from all parts of town had school together. North Haven was beginning to trulycome together. This was a major event in North Haven’s life back then.

Peter’s Rock had a lasting great impact on me growing up, helping me become the person I am now; to always love, and try to conserve our great outdoors. I am tremendously pleased that The Peter’s Rock Association was formed and is doing so much to keep this wonderful Montowese resource alive and well.

FROM: Audrey Robinson McClure
I grew up in North Haven 80 years ago and have fond memories of Peter’s Rock. My father, Kenneth Robinson, built a house on Spring Street (now Village Street) and we frequently went to the trails, entering from Middletown Avenue across from the area of Belvedere Road on what is now the pink trail. At that time it was the most popular entrance. My dad tells a story that makes Peter’s Rock most dear to me: when he and my mother were courting they went up this roadway to a point near the spring, and he carved their initials into a tree. As a child he showed me the spot, but I have since been unable to locate it. When my dad was 80 years old, for his birthday he only wanted to take a walk up the trails as far as he could make it, and we did! Quite a distance, I might add!

FROM: Joanne Chvisuk
On past group hikes [winter’s hike and October Festival] I met up with people I haven’t seen in many years. Our kids went to the same after school programs and/or summer camps. During the hike, we played “catch up on life”...talking about our kids...where they are now and hopefully where they intend to be in the future. Had it not been for these hikes I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to speak with these people to enjoy their company and past memories.

The above memories are just a peek at the effect that one piece of land, now endeared as a landmark and park, has had on North Haven’s residents and those beyond. Perhaps you or friends and relatives have some long forgotten, or rather new memories of experiences in the park. Please feel free to send them to Ann Lombardi at P.O. Box 762, North Haven, CT 06473 or through our website, petersrockassociation.org.

Ann White Lombardi

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