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.