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 a “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 farmhouse are done

1947:

  • Farm becomes known as Brooksvale Park and private landscapers help with maintenance

 

1958:

  • Park is turned over to the Parks & Recreation Department

1963:

  • Ranger Jim Grandy is hired and moves into the park residence (farmhouse) as caretaker
  • 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

1999:

  • Ranger Vin Lavorgna hired as the Park’s 2nd Park Ranger, 2nd 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. Later denied
  • FOB 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 who is also a part-time employee at the park
  • 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 the benefit of 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
•    2nd Annual Meeting in the Barn w/Jim Sirch, (For Goodness Snakes) in May
•    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
•    FOB Bake Sale Booth at Annual Brooksvale Festival in October
•    FOB hosts Wreath Making Workshop in December
•    Signs of Spring Hike w/Tom Parlapiano in March
•    Maple Sugaring Day Open to the Public in March
•    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
•    Bake Sale Booth at Annual Brooksvale Festival in October
•    Wreath Making Workshop – December 2
•    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. on July 8
•    “There’s A Fungus Among Us” - Mycological Society of CT on August 26
•    Owl Prowl w/Tom P. in October
•    Earth Day Celebration HMS – April
•    Wreath Making Workshop in December again at capacity

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
•    Maple Sugaring Day Open to the Public – March 8 (Rained Out!)
•    Bears & Coyotes with Paul Rego on April 24
•    Earth Day Celebration HMS on April 26
•    5th Annual Meeting - Appalachian Trail Talk w/Mike Lockett on May 8
•    Brooksvale Barn Dance – September 12
•    Bake Sale Booth at Annual Brooksvale Festival in October
•    Wreath Making Workshop in December again at capacity

2009:

•    Public Maple Sugaring day in March attended by over 150!
•    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!
•    Bake Sale Booth at Annual Brooksvale Festival in October
•    Wreath Making Workshop in December again at capacity

first farm camp

first farm camp


2010:

•    Public Maple Sugaring Day in March rained out!
•    FOB has booth at 40TH Anniversary of Earth day in April
•    FOB Annual Meeting & Farm Day on May 8 is rained out!
•    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:

•    Public Maple Sugaring Day in March rained out!
•    FOB has booth at Earth day in April
•    Butterfly Walk with Andy Brand on June 26. Great turnout!
•    Director Frank Rizzuti retires
•    Third Farm Camp at the park now being run by Hamden Dept. of Arts, Recreation & Culture. Angela Lomanto and Jennifer Zitser were directors. Farm camp enrollment at capacity
•    Wreath Making Workshop in December again 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
•    FOB has booth at Earth Day in April
•    Fourth camp season is successful once again
•    A Pasta Dinner is held at Dunbar United Church to raise funds for the New Animal Barn
•    Wreath Making Workshop in December again at capacity

25000.jpg

2013:

•    Public Maple Sugaring OPEN HOUSE day absolutely wonderful with close to 500 visiting throughout the day
•    March 10 at 10am 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
•    FOB has booth at Earth day in April
•    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