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”

1860:

  • 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

1880:

  • Mrs. Brooks returns to Hamden and dies on the farm and is buried in Central Burying Ground

1901:

  • Major Renovations to the farm house are done

1947:

  • The Hamden Poor Farm ceases operation, and local landscapers help keep it maintained.

 

1958:

Land is turned over to the Parks & Recreation Department.  Momentum begins to establish a public park

1963:

  • 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
Adirondack camping shelters

Adirondack camping shelters

 

1965:

  • Veterans’ Memorial Building constructed with WWII Memorial funds

1966:

  • Picnic Pavilion constructed by Hamden Grange #99
  • 1st Year of Outdoor Nature Camp Program

1968:

  • Barn repairs take place
  • Park Cabin constructed by Civitan Club
  • Rope Tow added to ski slope
park cabin

park cabin

rope tow

rope tow

 

1970:

  • First Earth Day!
  • Park Expansion—25 acres added!

1973:

  • Archery Field added to the Park

1974:

  • Hunting banned at the Park, now designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary

 

1978:

  • Farmington Canal Linear Park restoration begins
  • Barn improvements accomplished by workers financed by the Comprehensive Employment Training Act

1988:

  • Brooksvale Park honored by CT Legislature on 25th birthday!

1995:

  • Farmington Canal Linear Park opens to the public

1998:

  • Ranger Jim Grandy retires after 35 years as Brooksvale Park Ranger--Jim--you did a great job creating this Park!!

1999:

  • Park Ranger Vin Lavorgna hired as the Park’s 2nd Park Ranger
  • Renovation begins at farmhouse
  • Original Park Maintainer Otis Moore retires

2000:

  • 1st annual Brooksvale Fall Festival
  • Maple Sugaring Program begins
  • Park Expansion -11 acres added
1st annual Brooksvale fall festival

1st annual Brooksvale fall festival

maple sugaring program

maple sugaring program

maple sugaring program

maple sugaring program

2003:

  • 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
Friends of Brooksvale first bake sale booth

Friends of Brooksvale first bake sale booth

2004:

  • 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
Wildlife garden

Wildlife garden

Ct trails day

Ct trails day

 

2005:

  • 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
wreath making workshop

wreath making workshop

2006:

•    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

signs of spring hike

signs of spring hike

Maple sugar open house

Maple sugar open house

2007:

•    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

Brooksvale butterflies

Brooksvale butterflies

2008:

•    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

2009:

•    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!

first farm camp

first farm camp


2010:

•    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

2011:

•    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

2012:

•    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

25000.jpg

2013:

•    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!

new animal barn being built

new animal barn being built

new animal barn being built

new animal barn being built

finished animal barn before a fresh coat of paint

finished animal barn before a fresh coat of paint

2015:

  • 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

2016:

  • Park Maintainer Ed Colavolpe retires; Tommy Brown becomes new park maintainer
  • New chicken coop completed in the Fall