Haddam, East Haddam & Moodus
The State of Connecticut abounds with many towns and areas known for their scenic beauty and rustic nature. The towns of Haddam and East Haddam, CT, located in Middlesex County, are no exceptions. They are towns where the Salmon River and Connecticut River waters have provided food to feed the body; and jobs in diversified factories and mills to provide prosperity to many generations. They are towns where the second largest forest in Connecticut, the Cockaponset Forest (named after an Indian Chieftain) encompasses 27% of the land. And they are towns where the earth quivers and shakes; and, at times, one can hear strange groans and rumbles resonating through the air.
The geography of the area is quite distinct. Connecticut’s strongest recorded earthquake, measuring a 7 on today’s Richter Scale occurred in Moodus in 1791. There have been many quakes since then. In fact, the Native American Algonquian tribes called the area “Machimoodus” – the place of noises. The Indians believed the groans, cracklings and rumblings were made by their ancient god – Hobomocko, a violent and evil entity. At times, the “Moodus Noises” can be heard for miles around near Mt. Tom and Cave Hill, evidence of continuing earthquake activity.
Nestled in the hills of the Lower Connecticut River Valley, today Haddam and East Haddam are home to over 17,000 residents living in their villages. Haddam has five: Haddam Neck; Hidden Lake; Higganum; Shailerville; and, Tylerville. There is also an area known as Haddam Center, which is quite literally the town’s center. East Haddam’s are: Moodus; North Plain; Millington; Bashan, Hadlyme; Leesville; Little Haddam; East Haddam Center; and even a ghost town – Johnsonville – once a popular Victorian era style tourist site.
Prior to the arrival of European and Dutch settlers in the mid-1600s, a number of Indian tribes – Pequots, Mohegans, Wangunks, and Nehantics – hunted, fished and farmed here. Then in 1662 the Indians sold this 150 square mile area to the English settlers for 30 British coats or roughly $100. The original name for the town was “Hadham” and was incorporated in 1668. But over time, people began pronouncing the name as “Haddam” and that became the town’s official name.
East Haddam became a separate town when it incorporated in 1734. Until 1913 transport between the towns was via a ferry which began operations in 1694. Then in 1913, a major “swing” (pin construction) bridge called the East Haddam Swing Bridge, connected the two and the ferry ceased operations. This bridge is the biggest one in the world.
The Haddam area heritage consists of an interesting history, colorful personages and even folklore. Haddam Island State Park, is an undeveloped island which can only reached by boat. It is rumored to be where the infamous pirate, Captain William Kidd, may have buried some of his ill-gotten booty. The island is also treasured as a major migratory bird sanctuary.
There are many interesting things to see and do for those who live in or visit Haddam and East Haddam. For instance, Haddam’s 9.1 mile section of Route 154, running alongside the west bank of the Connecticut River is designated as an important beautiful scenic road. And while driving through Haddam, one will discover that it has more colonial era houses than Williamsburg, VA.
The life and times of Thankful Arnold can be studied at the Thankful Arnold House Museum in Haddam. Here is where a visitor can learn about what life was like for a typical river valley housewife – during the good and the bad times. You can also view the Giddeon Higgins Place at 10 Norwich Road, East Haddam, which was the home of this abolitionist and shipbuilder and a stop on the 19th Century Underground Railway.
Other East Haddam sites include the Gillette Castle State Park, which houses an authentic stone castle. It was built by William Hooker Gillette, a famous actor, director and playwright in 1919. And for entertainment, one can visit the Goodspeed Opera House, built in 1877, which features award winning musicals. Finally, a must see is a major agricultural state fair held Labor Day Weekend called the Haddam Neck Fair. It is over 100 years old and going strong.
The Haddam area can also lay claim to two historical figures of great note. The first was the American patriot and spy Nathan Hale, who taught school here (Nathan Hale Schoolhouse). Caught by the British and sentence to death, he declared on the gallows “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” The second person is Venture Smith (c. 1729-1805), a freed black slave and author, who made his residence here. When Venture was about 10 years old, he was captured in Africa (Guinea) and sent to America as a slave. Eventually he bought freedom for himself and his family. He chronicled his life and published it under the title “A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa: But Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America, Related by Himself.” This is the earliest known literary voice of an African American.
Daniels Energy Serves Haddam, East Haddam & Moodus
Featuring: Propane Delivery & Service. Oil & HVAC Services
Like the towns of Haddam and East Haddam, our town of Portland where the Daniels Energy began a coal delivery business years ago, is also located in Middlesex County, CT. For over 90 years, we’ve proudly serviced the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) home comfort needs of our community. Ever since we started our business, we’ve always treated our customers like family because we care. They know they can count on us for their heating services, such as dependable oil and propane delivery; as well as affordable maintenance and service contracts to fit their budgets. Daniels Energy offers a wide variety of high quality HVAC products and systems to meet today’s growing and ever changing energy demands for homes and businesses, not just in Middlesex County, but across the state as well. Our technicians are fully trained and state certified to ensure that the work we do, like an oil to propane conversion, is safely done right. Whether you’re looking to buy a new furnace or hot water heater, replace an oil tank, schedule an oil or propane delivery, or add a humidifier, give us a call. “Let Daniels Do It!” for you – like we’ve been doing it for our many customers across Connecticut.
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8 High Street, P.O. Box 32, Portland, CT 06480 • 24 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT 06409, P.O. Box 391 • Essex, CT
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