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Urban Archeologist: Happy Birthday Candlewood Lake

See Candlewood Lake from a 1930s point of view.

 

I feel like I'm arriving a little late to the party. The official birthday of Candlewood Lake was September 28 and at 83 years old I assume that geologically it is still an infant, or compared to natural bodies of water, a zygote. It is a beautiful resource and landmark none the less. In fact, it was once described as Connecticut's Lake George.

In celebration of the birthday lake and as a late gift, I have a selection of Candlewood Lake memories I found years ago... and just last week. The piece in the nicest condition is a pamphlet from the Candlewood Lake Club on the Brookfield/New Milford border. This was billed as a select colony that required approval by a board before you could buy or build. This pamphlet was one of two I found in a northern New Milford estate sale. The other one I donated to friends who live there. 

The other brochures are part of a larger story of which this article will be considered part 1, but it all started with a small Craig's List ad, a nearly empty house in Danbury, a dumpster and one phrase, “Make an offer.” As a result I was welcomed into the childhood home of three brothers who were cleaning it out and selling it for their invalid father. 

When a family decides to clean house I know from experience that very little is saved, as one of the brothers said to me as he tossed items in a dumpster, “Where are going to you put it all?” I know he was speaking rhetorically but it didn't stop me from trying to answer by putting at least some of it in my car. I came away with several photo albums and an entire suitcase of memories and sympathy for a nice family with a difficult task.

It was at the bottom of the old suitcase that I found the two other brochures (pictured) — Candlewood Isle in New Fairfield and Birch Groves in New Milford. Two very nice and established communities today, but back in the early ‘30s it was a developer’s feast to take this new lake and split up every parcel and offer it as a vacation spot. Many New York and New England residents with a little bit of money and a vacation home on their wish list visited, explored, toured and decided to buy. 

Take a look at more from the pages from these brochures and enjoy views of this Connecticut lake when it was surrounded mostly by woodland and pasture.

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story. You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.

Al Brecken October 07, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Candlewood is an artifical lake which was built to generate electricity , and not built for recreation , although a splendid recreational area was indeed a laudable side-benefit. The generating powerhouse is the "Rocky River Hydro" station, the water from lake Candlewood driving a hydro-generator. Info here--- http://www.ctmuseumquest.com/?page_id=15721
Greg Van Antwerp October 07, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Funny, I think I confuse people with my writing style (or lack of it.) When I describe the lake as an "infant" geologically, I realize I am possibly baiting the reader into believing that I think it was always there. The next phrase in which I say " a zygote compared to natural bodies of water" is supposed to reassure the reader that I know Candlewood is a man-made lake. No need to go too deep into my text here - it is merely a vehicle to enjoy the fact that if you know the lake you might like to see some old pictures of it. Now for something really wild - take a look at this story I wrote last year about Candlewood. http://danbury.patch.com/articles/urban-archeologist-the-history-of-candlewood-lake Thanks for reading...and commenting!

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