Monday, August 27, 2012

The Doors Are Closed

In 1960, after remaining vacant for 22 years, Leander Miller Haskins’ home-turned-hospital was burned to the ground as a firefighter training exercise.  The barn remained in use as a DPW storage building for a few years and then, along with the laboratory and the caretaker’s house, was demolished.   
The drive...Haskins' home used to be in the clearing to the right
 When all that was left of Leander’s bequest was the grounds, the so-called town park was maintained by the DPW and often mowed by a caring neighbor.   
The stone mounds, Autumn 2011
 In recent years, the property has been used for passive recreation activities such as hiking and dog walking.  The Westbrook, CT Fire Department camps on the grounds each year before participating in our Fourth of July parade.  The Cub Scouts use the woods for their annual Haunted Hayride.   
The cellar of the caretaker's house
 Unfortunately, much of the estate grounds are unusable having been left to become overgrown with weeds, cat-briar, and useless, light-starved saplings.   
The swimming pool with spillway at bottom right
The overflow pool with spillway from swimming pool at top
 Careless disposal of brush, leaves, and trash have marred the beauty of the spot.   
Piles of leaves and brush cover the SW stone wall near the caretaker's house cellar
 Currently weeds are encroaching on the once-maintained stone mounds section of the property.   
Lack of mowing allows weeds to invade west of the mounds
Although considered a park, it has never been thoughtfully developed as one, therefore very little remains to show our appreciation of Leander Haskins’ philanthropy.

What is being done to correct this?  Stay tuned to read some updates in future posts.


annettesblog said...

I was thinking who's responsible for the land now?
Surely they could get it upgraded?
What a shame it was allowed to get like this in the first place.

deb said...

Annette, the town owns the land with the town government (the Board of Selectmen) appointed as trustees. Some of them had never been and seen the property until recently...some may still have not gone there.