History: The Rebirth of a Farm
1856 – 1860:
- Enos Brook, a resident of Hamden and owner of Brooksvale Farm, leases his farm to the town of Hamden to be used as the "Hamden Poor Farm”
- Enos Brooks dies and in his Last Will & Testament leaves the farm to the town with a “Life Lease” for his wife Roxany, for $100 annually
- Mrs. Brooks returns to Hamden and dies on the farm and is buried in Central Burying Ground
- Major Renovations to the farm house are done
- The Hamden Poor Farm ceases operation, and local landscapers help keep it maintained.
Land is turned over to the Parks & Recreation Department. Momentum begins to establish a public park
- Brooksvale Recreation Park is established, and Park Ranger Jim Grandy is hired and moves into the park residence (farmhouse) with his family
- Adirondack camping shelters built by civic organizations, Civitan, Jaycees, and Rotarians
- Veterans’ Memorial Building constructed with WWII Memorial funds
- Picnic Pavilion constructed by Hamden Grange #99
- 1st Year of Outdoor Nature Camp Program
- Barn repairs take place
- Park Cabin constructed by Civitan Club
- Rope Tow added to ski slope
- First Earth Day!
- Park Expansion—25 acres added!
- Archery Field added to the Park
- Hunting banned at the Park, now designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary
- Farmington Canal Linear Park restoration begins
- Barn improvements accomplished by workers financed by the Comprehensive Employment Training Act
- Brooksvale Park honored by CT Legislature on 25th birthday!
- Farmington Canal Linear Park opens to the public
- Ranger Jim Grandy retires after 35 years as Brooksvale Park Ranger--Jim--you did a great job creating this Park!!
- Park Ranger Vin Lavorgna hired as the Park’s 2nd Park Ranger
- Renovation begins at farmhouse
- Original Park Maintainer Otis Moore retires
- 1st annual Brooksvale Fall Festival
- Maple Sugaring Program begins
- Park Expansion -11 acres added
- Housing development plan of 100 homes abutting Hickory Brook proposed. Large community effort defeats proposal.
- FOB (Friends of Brooksvale Park) incorporates “To provide environmental education, preserve and enhance the integrity of the park’s natural and cultural resources, and serve as an advocate for the Park for the benefit of the citizens in the greater Hamden area”
- FOB hosts first Bake Sale Booth at Annual Brooksvale Festival in October
- Charter meeting of the Friends of Brooksvale Park takes place on May 23
- FOB supports Maple Sugaring Day Open to the Public in March
- FOB holds their 1st Annual Meeting in barn w/Scavenger Hunt
- FOB Supports CT Trails Day on first Saturday in June
- Hamden Grange #99 donates $10,000. New hay wagon constructed
- Hayes Foundation donates $2000 toward new Wildlife Garden being designed and built as an Eagle Scout project by Christopher Traester.
- Park Expansion—183 acres! Housing development defeated. Funds provided by Town of Hamden, State of CT, and RWA
- Veterans Memorial Building renovated and re-dedicated with Mayor Carl Amento, FOB and Veterans’ in attendance
- Brooksvale park winner of “Best Park” in Shoreline/Elm City poll
- Wreath Making Workshop in December with proceeds going to benefit FOB
• Snowy Trails - Winter Tales at Miller Library in January
• Maple Sugaring Day Open to the Public in March
• Bio-Blitz event takes place at the Park led by Tom Parlapiano in June
• “Pines Picnic Area” Memorial dedicated in the memory of park employee Matt Roche
• 3rd Annual Meeting in the barn w/Mike LeBlanc, “Wolf Talk” in May
• Starry, Starry Brooksvale w/Astronomical Society of New Haven in August
• Brooksvale Butterflies w/Andy Brand in August
• “Fall into Autumn” Hike w/Tom P. in September
• Wreath Making Workshop in December again at capacity
• CT Trails Day in June
• Brooksvale Barn Dance – Sept. 7
• First Annual Friends of Brooksvale Photography Contest
• Brooksvale Rocks - New Haven Mineral Club – March 22
• 4th Annual Meeting - Star Night, Astronomical Society of New Haven in May
• Brooksvale Butterflies w/Andy B.
• “There’s A Fungus Among Us” - Mycological Society of CT
• Owl Prowl w/Tom P. in October
• Second Annual Friends of Brooksvale Photography Contest
• The Story of Maple Sugaring display - Month of January at Miller Memorial Library
• Bears & Coyotes with Paul Rego on April 24
• 5th Annual Meeting - Appalachian Trail Talk w/Mike Lockett on May 8
• Brooksvale Barn Dance – September 12
• Public Maple Sugaring day in March attended by over 150 visitors
• Wellness Garden and Orchard planted. Both were Eagle Scout projects
• First Farm Camp at the park made possible through grant money. Angela Lomanto and Jennifer Zitser were directors
• Park Expansion—40 acres added!
• FOB has booth at 40TH Anniversary of Earth day in April
• Second Farm Camp at the park made possible through grant money. Angela Lomanto and Jennifer Zitser were directors
• Wreath Making Workshop in December again at capacity
• Butterfly Walk with Andy Brand on June 26. Great turnout!
• Parks & Recreation Director Frank Rizzuti retires
• Third Farm Camp at the park now being run by Hamden Dept. of Arts, Recreation & Culture. Farm camp enrollment at capacity
• Public Maple Sugaring Day in March a HUGE success! Sunburns were even acquired on some
• FOB kicks off the New Animal Barn project with a Wine Tasting fundraiser at DeMil’s on Whitney
• Fourth Farm Camp season is successful once again
• A Pasta Dinner is held at Dunbar United Church to raise funds for the New Animal Barn
• Public Maple Sugaring OPEN HOUSE day absolutely wonderful with close to 500 visiting throughout the day
• March 10 --a ceremonial Groundbreaking takes place where the new Animal Barn will be built. Present from the FOB board of officers were Fred McCarthy – President (new 2013), Gail Traester – Vice President, James Traester – Treasurer and Kirsten Walker – Secretary. Also present were Ranger Vin Lavorgna, Mayor Scott Jackson, Park Maintainer Ed Colavolpe, Legislative Council Representative Al Gorman and many, many supporters and friends from the various town departments
• New Animal Barn is being built!
• 5th Camp Season (Nature & Farm Camp) comes to a close the first week of August but with lower attendance than previously
• September 28, New Animal Barn presented to the town at the 14th Annual Brooksvale Fall Festival
• Fall Festival LARGEST EVER and the decision to move to last Saturday in September was great. Weather was awesome!
- Arrival of two new miniature horses, Lacey and Hazel, to accompany Lightning after the passing of her mother, Tina. The Park now has three miniature horses, two pygmy goats, two Dorset sheep, rabbits, and chickens
- Park Maintainer Ed Colavolpe retires; Tommy Brown becomes new park maintainer
- New chicken coop completed in the Fall