3.0 Tolland to Hartford, Windsor & Wethersfield, CT

NEW VIDEO - "THE TRAIL TO TOLLAND" is posted in the updated section 3.05 Tolland

Research and field exploration on the routes Tolland to Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield continues. Pages will be added in the first half of 2013 for the route from Tolland to Hartford through Vernon, Manchester and East Hartford. Check the progress towards reaching the Connecticut River in the pages below.

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The aerial view (left) provides a draft of the approximate routes from Tolland to Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield based on descriptions by Matthias Spiess and Harral Ayres found in the archives of the Connecticut State Historical Society. Letters between Spiess and Ayres following the publication of Ayres' book The Great Trail of New England help to offer solutions to their acrimonious disagreement about the Old Connecticut Path.

Spiess' route to Windsor and Ayres' route of the Old Connecticut Path converge at the Willimantic River fording place in the vicinity of RT 74. From there, Spiess described the route to Windsor running through Tolland and heading to the north end of Shenipsit Lake. From Shenipsit, Spiess further describes the route across Ellington and Windsorville to the place of the first ferry across the Connecticut River at the Hayden section of Windsor. The ferry was later relocated down river to Bissell Ferry. On the draft map, Spiess' route to Windsor is White from Ashford to the Willimantic River, Black along the line shared with Ayres' route of the Old Connecticut Path, and Blue from the point where the route goes northwest to Windsor. This has been labeled as the "Windsor Branch".

Ayres revised his original route to Hartford in 1944 in a letter to Lloyd Williams found in the archives of the Woodstock Historical Society. His revised route appeared to accept Spiess' argument that any route through Tolland to Hartford would follow the Nipmuck Path. On the draft map, Ayres' route of the Old Connecticut Path is shown as Red across Ashford and Willington to the Willimantic River at the point where it meets Spiess' route to Windsor. The route in Black is shared with Spiess' route to Windsor. The Yellow and Greens line represents the approximate route of the Nipmuck Path from Tolland to Hartford. Spiess provided a description of the fording place at Hartford near the current I84 bridge. The Green line from Talcottville to Hartford has been labeled the "Hartford Branch". Note that Spiess did not accept Ayres' route of the Old Connecticut Path. While he agreed with Ayres on the route across Massachusetts to Woodstock, he disagreed vehemently with Ayres on the route from Woodstock to Hartford. Spiess' version of the route of the Old Connecticut Path ran through Bolton Notch, the center of Manchester and to the point where the I84 bridge now crosses the Connecticut River. This is shown in Pink on the draft map.

Spiess provided a description the Connecticut River crossing place to Wethersfield from East Hartford in the area of Keeney Cove to the area of Warehouse Park in Wethersfield. The "Wethersfield Branch" is shown as the Purple line from Talcottville across Manchester and East Hartford to the Connecticut River crossing place described by Spiess.

Further research and field explorations are in process to confirm the Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield "Branches" of the Old Connecticut Path.

Please check back to see added pages and updates.

BACK TO: Guide to Rediscovering the Old Connecticut Path


Subpages (1): 3.05 Tolland
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