It took nearly thirty years from the 1960s to the 1990s for the state of Connecticut to complete an expansion of I-91 through Windsor. In the interim a heated debate raged between Windsor citizens and the state over highway construction and expansion within the town.
Near the northern edge of the Windsor Historic District, on the east side of Palisado Avenue, stands a marker proudly proclaiming the entrance to Bissell Ferry Road. Tucked in between two nearby homes, the unpaved road would be easily overlooked if not for this sign. This modest reminder is all that is left to commemorate a vital spot in Windsor’s long history.
The Hartford Courant's Fresh-Air Excursions were one of the many programs, clubs, and organizations that made Rainbow Park an annual destination during the late 1890s. Rainbow businessmen Henry Snow and Samuel Vernon opened the park in 1895, the year the Hartford Street Railway Company completed the trolley line to Rainbow.
They are the red sandstone markers set on the sides of the roads with the letters H or H.C. chiseled into them. The letters indicate the number of miles to the Hartford Court House, today known as the Old State House. In 1787 the Connecticut legislature ordered that “towns shall set up milestones on mail routes, marking distances from the county towns."
Christopher Miner Spencer was an almost compulsive inventor and tinkerer from his childhood into his old age. The people who knew him best describe long hours of puzzling over problems he hoped to solve and designs he hoped to improve on inventions like his rifles, automatic screw machine, steam-powered boat, and automobiles. They also describe a man who was kind, generous, and friendly.
Canal transportation was no match for the speed and efficiency of the emerging railroads in the mid-19th century. But while the arrival of the railroad signaled the eventual demise of the Windsor Locks Canal, the decline in shipping on the canal was far more gradual than historians have previously supposed. One product in particular, gunpowder, was shipped through the canal for several decades after the railroad appeared.
The Farmington River winds its way through the entire width and much of the length of Windsor. It crosses major roads in two locations: Palisado Ave. and Poquonock Ave. Over the centuries, numerous bridges have spanned the Farmington in both locations, several of which are featured here.
Most people know that there were once two ferries in Windsor: the Rivulet Ferry on the Farmington River and the Bissell Ferry across the Connecticut River. However, there was also another, almost unknown, ferry operating here in the 18th century. It was called the Wolcott Ferry.
The first public thoroughfare used by the settlers of Windsor in 1633 was an Indian trail between Plymouth Meadow (behind today’s Loomis Chaffee School) and the head of Hartford Meadow near the present village of Wilson. At first it was a simple footpath and was later widened for use by cart and horse.
Many sources, including an official historic marker along Palisado Avenue, will tell you that Windsor’s Bissell’s Ferry operated from 1641-1917. However, when I embarked on research into the ferry I encountered information bringing into [...]