Over the holidays I went on a Manchester Land Conservation Trust (MLCT) hike of their 57-acre Bush Hill Farm property in Manchester. Along the way hike leader Susan Barlow mentioned the land trust recently became owners of a 16-acre property in Rockville. Not having heard anything about an available property I was very curious (aka nosy).
The property is on Pleasant Street in Rockville and overlooks Amerbelle and Paper Mill Pond. It's a rocky outcrop owned by Lee and Lamont who wanted to see the property preserved and protected. Northern CT Land Trust declined to acquire it, so MLCT accepted the property and the transfer was made in December.
I did a little digging on the history of the property. In the second half of the 1800's the area was owned by Deacon John Stickney, who was involved with a number of mills including the paper mill on Paper Mill Pond. His house was above the turn in the road and the hill was known as Stickney Hill.
Synchronistically, I was reading at the time I learned of the MLCT property the biography of John Stickney's daughter Caroline, "A Daughter of the Puritans," describing her early life growing up in Rockville in the 1850's and playing on the hill.
The land trust is planning a trail on the property and a guided hike in the spring.
Here is a portion of their press release issued today:
"Pleasant Street Property Open to Public in Rockville
"A 15.9-acre parcel of forest, rock, hill, and ledges in Rockville was donated to the Manchester Land Conservation Trust as an open-space gift for the public to enjoy. Richard Lee and Stephen Lamont presented the property to the Land Trust in December 2016. Entrance to the property is at the eastern en of Pleasant Street, in the northeast part of Rockville.
"Volunteers are in the process of creating a trail, and in the spring there will be a free walk on the property. The Trust’s Stewardship Chair, Colin McNamara, says, “The preserve’s varied terrain will offer something for everyone, right in urban Rockville.” Rob Lewis, volunteer Steward of this Rockville property, envisions a loop trail starting from Pleasant Street and meandering around the property, and says, “It will be a place to unwind and get a little exercise.” Local historian Jon Roe said, “There was a very early iron mine and foundry in the area, that goes back to the early 1700s, but the exact location is undiscovered. An 1877 map of the area seems to show houses at the top of the hill, which was known at one time as Stickney Hill.”
"The Land Trust, is an all-volunteer nonprofit conservation organization, founded in 1972. It owns 450 open-space acres in Manchester, Vernon, Andover, Bolton, East Hartford, and Glastonbury. More info and a list of properties: ManchesterLandTrust.org. Volunteers are needed for property maintenance."
The land trust is also seeking your help in naming the site and is considering 'Pleasant Hill' and 'Stickney Hill.' Vote for either of these names or create your own, and email firstname.lastname@example.org. Neighbors of the parcel are especially encouraged to participate!