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New Milford in Litchfield County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Loverís Leap State Park

 
 
Loverís Leap State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Herrick, September 13, 2009
1. Loverís Leap State Park Marker
Inscription.  
Highlights of Loverís Leap State Park
New Milford, CT
Loverís Leap State Park is located in southern New Milford. The Housatonic River flows through the park and forms the headwaters of Lake Lillinonah. This historic 140 acre park began in 1971 when Catherine Hurd bequeathed her 52 acre estate to the State of Connecticut for use as a Ďpublic park.í In 2001, the Connecticut Light & Power Company sold 86 adjoining acres to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, with the intention of expanding the park and preserving its unique character.
A thriving community of Native Americans occupied this strategic site for over 8,000 years. Its location and elevation allowed for observation and signaling over great distances. The fertile fields of the river valley, abundance of game and migration of salmon, shad, ell, and other anadromous fish from Long Island Sound up to the “Great Falls” assured a reliable food source. The Great Falls blocked the passage of shad from migrating further up river. Since the construction of the Shepaug Dam and creation of Lake Lillinonah, the falls are now 14 feet below
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the surface of the Housatonic.
The park contains a breathtaking river gorge, made famous by the Indian legend of Chief Waramaugís beautiful daughter, Princess Lillinonah. She canoed to her death into the “Great Falls” when her white lover did not return after visiting his people. Upon his return, he saw her in the rapids and leaped to his death in an attempt to save her.
The last Native Americans to occupy the site were the Weantinocks, lead by the Great Sachem Waramaug. They lived in harmony with the white settlers in the area. Chief Waramaug died in 1735, and is believed he is buried near the river gorge.
The ruins of the Bridgeport Wood Finishing Company, (1882 to 1927) whose grinding wheels were once powered by the mighty Housatonic River, are also located within the park. It is one of only 16 of Connecticutís “State Archaeological Preserves” and is also listed on the State Register of Historic Places as an early manufacturing site.
A trail system honeycombs the 140 acres; an old railroad abutment provides the perfect fishing spot and nearby is a kayak/canoe rest area. At the Lake Lillinonah side of the park is a kayak/canoe portage.
“Falls Bridge” spans Loverís Leap gorge and is one of the many highlights of the park. Built by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company in 1895, it was recently refurbished with $1.9
Loverís Leap State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Herrick, September 13, 2009
2. Loverís Leap State Park Marker
Informational markers along the old road. In the background is the Falls Bridge.
million dollars (80% Federal and 20% New Milford funding). This graceful structure is the crown jewel of the park and epitomizes the era of iron bridge building. As one of only four iron lenticular truss bridges remaining in Connecticut, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It is the linchpin in the park trail system and a magnificent sight to behold.
In 2004, Friends of Loverís Leap State Park, a non-profit organization was formed for the betterment of the park. Since then, a 40 car parking lot was constructed with generously donated volunteer labor, equipment and materials. Interpretive signage is located throughout the park thanks to a generous donation from the Ellen Knowles Harcourt Foundation. Numerous volunteers and volunteer organizations have contributed their time and talents toward the establishment of what is now the newest and one of the most beautiful State Parks in Connecticut.
We thank the Department of Environmental Protection, Parks Division, for their assistance and cooperation and all those who have helped to proudly bring this Ďdreamí to reality.
“We hope you enjoy, respect and help preserve Loverís Leap State Park for future generations”.
Hon. Jeanne W. Garvey, Chairman
Friends of Loverís Leap State Park
June 16, 2007
 
Erected 2007
The Estate of Catherine Judson Hurd image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Herrick, September 13, 2009
3. The Estate of Catherine Judson Hurd
One of the informational signs along the old road. The mansion is now just a pile of rubble after a 1988 fire.
by Friends of Loverís Leap State Park.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansNatural Features. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1821.
 
Location. 41° 32.631′ N, 73° 24.46′ W. Marker is in New Milford, Connecticut, in Litchfield County. Marker can be reached from Still River Drive, 0.2 miles east of Pumpkin Hill Road, on the right when traveling east. Located on the old road to Falls Bridge in Loverís Leap State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Milford CT 06776, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Falls Bridge (here, next to this marker); Bridgeport Wood Finishing Company (here, next to this marker); Space Shuttle Tire (approx. 1.6 miles away); Bridgewater WW I Memorial (approx. 2.3 miles away); Bridgewater WW II Memorial (approx. 2.3 miles away); Bridgewater Center (approx. 2.3 miles away); Twin Red Oaks (approx. 2.3 miles away); New Milford WW II Memorial (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Milford.
 
Native American History image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Herrick, September 13, 2009
4. Native American History
One of the informational signs along the old road. There is a lake and state park named after Chief Waramaug of the Pootatuck Tribe.
Friends of Loverís Leap State Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Herrick, September 19, 2009
5. Friends of Loverís Leap State Park
One of the informational signs along the old road. A tribute to the volunteers and companies that donated time, materials and hard work to build the park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 25, 2009, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 5,089 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 25, 2009, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 22, 2024