Erickson Park in Gales Ferry

When my son was in Ledyard Middle School, he walked from Inchcliffe Drive then across Military Highway to wait for the bus at "Cappy's". I doubt the kids would be allowed to make that precarious crossing today. At that time, during the 1980's, the Erickson's had a small general store known as Cappy's, at the waterfront location on Military Highway. The kids loved going there for the penny candy so it was a popular bus stop. During the winter, they could wait inside and helping the elderly Mr. and Mrs. Erickson was part of the deal.

Cappy's, the spelling of which I am guessing at, was purchased by the Town of Ledyard in 2000, and is now the location of Erickson Park, a 2.8 acre site with walking trail, stone barbecue, picnic tables, and a lovely view of Mill Cove and the Thames River, especially at sunset. The Ledyard Park's and Recreation department rents the location for events. This July, they will be holding a Boat Building Camp and 6th-12th graders will be building a 17' plywood Dory and then experience the fun of rowing it in the cove.

The park has come a long way since being a bus stop with a view.


Mill Cove 005

A Look at Ledyard Cemeteries

The Town of Ledyard has 52 cemeteries within its borders, many of them small family graveyards. Town resident, Michael Dreimiller started a project a few years ago to map all of the Ledyard cemeteries. He isn’t quite finished but this link to his google map is a fantastic start for anyone interested. For more information, the Ledyard Historical Society has published a book titled, "Ledyard, Connecticut Historic Cemetery Inscriptions.” You will find this and other books about Ledyard History at their WEBSITE.


Ledyard Cemeteries

Know the Town of Ledyard

The first of Ledyard’s “Know Your Town” series was held on Thursday, September 20th at the Nathan Lester House. Ledyard Mayor John Rodolico lead off the presentation with an overview of the rules and responsibilities of the mayor. I followed as Town Council Chairman. The real highlight of the evening was Town Historian Kit Foster who gave a fascinating account of the early history of Ledyard. If you are interested in reading about the history of Ledyard, there is a wonderful series of books produced by the Ledyard Historical Society. In addition, Kit Foster is the author of the Ledyard and Gales Ferry edition of the  Images of America series.  These books can be purchased at the Ledyard and Gales Ferry Libraries and on the Ledyard Historical Society website.

Know Your Town

Gypsy Moths in Ledyard - My 7 Seconds of Fame

I still vividly remember showing houses in Ledyard during the summer of 1981. Gypsy moth caterpillars were a problem throughout the state but Ledyard was one of the worst hit communities. Driveways were slick with caterpillar droppings and trees were defoliated. As a result, the following year, I became involved with Ledyard's town-wide gypsy moth spraying campaign. 6 years later I had my "fifteen minutes of fame" and appeared on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. Here is the story as written in the "Home News" by reporter Steve Adams on September 29, 1989.

Ledyard - Ledyard Resident Appears on CBS Evening News

It's been said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. For Linda Davis, however, her interlude in the limelight was more like seven seconds. Davis, a Board of Education member and local realtor, appeared September 8 on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. She was featured during a report on a fungus that is killing off gypsy moth caterpillars. Davis was involved with the town-wide gypsy moth spraying campaign in 1982, when Ledyard was one of the worst-hit communities in the state.

"The only word I can describe it is "disgusting"" Davis was shown telling correspondent Richard Schlesinger. "They covered the houses, driveways became slippery, we even had stories of people carrying umbrellas". "That was about all you could say in seven seconds," added Davis, who was described as a "community activist" by a network graphic.

The interview was filmed in July at the Ledyard Town Green. CBS cameras also filmed the town's most famous tree, the Ledyard Oak, which was destroyed by the Gypsy moth blight. Schlesinger was shown standing next to a plaque indicating that the tree was killed by gypsy moth caterpillars in 1969. Davis was a member of a volunteer group which banded together to coordinate a spraying campaign during the first year of the blight. Davis, who is seeking re-election to the school board this fall, joked that she will print campaign brochures with the slogan, "Dan Rather comes to me for the news."

I haven't seen any of the little guys nor have I found any news or concerns online of late. I'm glad. Anyone who was a resident of Ledyard back in 1982 will never forget it. It was like a horror movie. You could hear them chomping at night. 30 years later, "Disgusting" is still the only word to describe it.

Tour of Mount Decatur in Gales Ferry

War of 1812 In Recognition of the War of 1812 Bicentennial, the Town of Ledyard, Styron LLC, Gales Ferry United Methodist Church  and Boy Scout Troop 12 are sponsoring guided tours of Mount Decatur, site of War of 1812  Fort Decatur, in Gales Ferry.  The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 7th from 10 am to 1 pm.  


Visitors to the Fort should park in the Gales Ferry United Methodist Parking lot at 10 Chapman Lane in Gales Ferry.  All visitors will be required to sign a liability release form.  Tours will be guided by Scouts from Troop 12 and should take between 45 minutes and 1 hour.

Please note the following information to all visitors:

1) The hike is fairly strenuous on uneven and steeply sloping trails.  Persons of poor health or limited mobility should not attempt this hike.

2) All visitors should wear sturdy walking shoes and bring any sunscreen or bug repellent they may need.

3) Appropriate clothing to offer protection from thorns and branches should also be worn.

4) Bottled water will be provided at the top of the hill.  The only available restroom facilities are those at the Gales Ferry United Methodist Church.

Fort Decatur was established by Commodore Stephen Decatur in 1813 when his fleet of 3 ships was bottled up by the British Fleet.  Unable to rejoin his squadron, Decatur fortified the hilltop with cannons, and structures made of earth and stone. Remnants of the fort include stone structures and a monument inscribed on a boulder.

Ledyard's Old Fashioned Fourth

Nathan Lester House by Linda Davis

From the newsletter of the Ledyard Historical Society:  This year Independence Day falls on a Wednesday. Our family-oriented “Old Fashioned Fourth” is an ideal way to celebrate if you are not leaving town to visit family or friends. Come to the Nathan Lester House on July 4th, at any time from 1:00 through 4:30 PM.

Enjoy lawn games, take a hike and explore the gardens, tour the house and barns. Bring a picnic and spend the afternoon. In case of inclement weather there will be indoor activities. Come and bring the family. Hosting visitors at your house? Bring them along, too!

The Nathan Lester House and Farm Tool Museum is located at the intersection of Long Cove and Vinegar Hill Roads in Gales Ferry.

Map picture

Ledyard Photo Friday - The Nautilus

I admit I've never been on the Nautilus since it became a museum but I had the opportunity to visit aboard the Nautilus when it was an operational submarine, and I was on the shoreline when it was towed up the Thames River as it came home to Groton for it’s final journey on July 6, 1985. 

The Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum isn't located in Ledyard but it is awful close and many Ledyard military personnel share in it's history.  A few weeks ago, a friend from Massachusetts texted me that he was in Gales Ferry with a bunch of kids and they needed something to do for a few hours.  I suggested they visit the Nautilus.  He reported back that a good time was had by all!  I include a photo of the Nautilus today as a reminder that sometimes we miss the cool stuff right in our own back yard.


Ledyard Photo Friday: Ledyard Up-Down Sawmill

I stumbled upon the Ledyard Up-Down Sawmill website this morning and thought I would share it here along with a few photos I shot this week. For the record, the Ledyard Up-Down Sawmill is owned by the town of Ledyard, CT and is administered by the Ledyard Historic District Commission.

                                                           Ledyard Up-Down Sawmill Information




Ledyard Celebrates Memorial Day

Flag6 The Town of Ledyard will celebrate Memorial Day on Sunday with a parade starting at 1:00PM.  The parade begins at Ledyard Center School and ends at the High School on Gallup Hill Road.  The theme is "Honor and Sacrifice".  The parade has been organized by the Ledyard Lions Club for the past 24 years.  

I love Memorial Day Parades.  I'm proud to say I'm patriotic. I choke up when I hear the Star Spangled Banner and get goose bumps when I see flags.  As you enjoy a parade, a picnic or the Indy 500 this weekend, please stop to remember our brave men and women who have served our country.

When I moved to Ledyard back in 1974 and started gardening, I was told by an area farmer never to plant my annuals  before Memorial Day.  I've never ignored that advice and made it a tradition to plant on Memorial Day weekend. This week  I made visits to Holdridge Nursery in Ledyard and Alice's Acres in Gales Ferry to pick up my annuals for planting.  It appears a lot of Ledyard residents had the same idea!