Three High Hills

 

Three High Hills

Thank you to the Bloomfield Journal for letting us reprint this second article in a series
published in Volume 32, Issue 41
Friday, October 10, 2008

Can you answer these Trivia Questions about Bloomfield?
1. What river starts in Bloomfield?
2. How big was the first church?
3. What energy source powered Bloomfield’s first street lights?
4. How many ducks are on the Drummer Boy statue?
5. What did Samuel Buckingham keep in the back of his cobbler shop?

THREE HIGH HILLS

Soon after the first settlers arrived in Windsor, men were sent to explore “the wilderness” to the west. The expedition reported there was good land “sufficient for three families.” Edward Messenger built the first house at what is now the corner of Blue Hills Avenue and Ledyard Avenue in 1642 although deed for the land from the Indians did not arrive until 1661. A large area became known as Messenger’s Farm and by 1666, 3 more houses were built there on “three high hills.”
First of 3 High Hills
One of these hills is on today’s Wintonbury Avenue in the area of the Seabury Retirement Community. Edward Messenger built a home here for his son-in-law, Peter Mills.  This land was continuously farmed for over three centuries. In the twentieth century, A. C. Petersen had one of his dairy farms on the site.Latimer Hill

Another hill is known as Latimer Hill, also off Wintonbury Avenue, farther west.  During the Revolutionary War, George Latimer and his son were serving in the Continental Army. His young daughter, Wealthy, was at home with her little brother and stepmother, both of whom had became ill.  The little boy died and Wealthy took an old wooden bread tray, lined it with linen and covered it with boards to serve as a coffin. Some old men helped her dig a grave. When Captain Latimer returned from the war, he donated some of his land to be used as a cemetery that can still be visited.

Cow HillThe last of the 3 hills is Cow Hill, now Prospect Street. A current owner of an 1870 house on the street found in the attic a faded wooden sign that may have been prepared for the 1935 Bloomfield Centennial that read, “Site of James Barber house, one of three oldest erected in 1675 on three high hills.”  Another source indicates the first Cow Hill house was built by Allen Ogden Barber.  The Vincent Family owned the land for many years in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Although not one of the original “high hills”, another that became imWhirlwind Hillportant in Wintonbury/Bloomfield history is Whirlwind Hill, where Mountain View Cemetery is located on Mountain Avenue.  Property for the cemetery was purchased in installments starting in 1894. It was known for 10 years as West Hill Cemetery. The Center District School was built on Whirlwind Hill in 1795.  It was torn down in 1883 after the school was moved to the old Academy building that was where the Center District Fire Station is currently located. The first Methodist Church building was built on Whirlwind Hill in 1817. It was moved in 1853 and rebuilt on the southeast corner of Park and Bloomfield Avenues, the site of the current Town Hall.

by Ralph Schmoll
Wintonbury Historical Society

ANSWERS TO TRIVIA QUESTIONS
1. North Branch of Park River
2. 45 by 35 feet
3. Kerosene
4. None, but there are 2 geese
5. The town’s first circulating library