The celebrated site at Putnam Memorial State Park played a role in the Revolutionary War’s fight for independence of the new country. Park grounds were site of the Continental Army’s 1779 winter encampment commanded by General Israel Putnam.
This is Connecticut’s oldest park, 7 miles southeast of Danbury CT. Within the park are remains of the encampment, reconstructed log buildings and a museum. Several large rock clusters within the park were foundations for soldiers living quarters, with a rock pile of remnants from bread ovens. Philip’s Cave was a south facing rock shelter used by Native American Indians warmed in winter by the sun.
The park tells the story behind the historic camp remains through interpretative trail signs and a museum. Park grounds with ponds provide fishing, youth group camping hiking, and picnicking. There are paved roads, dirt roads and trails throughout the park. The park is handicap accessible with leashed pets permitted on hiking trails and picnic areas.
In addition to the park’s historic contribution it is an attraction for geologists. A massive Rowe Schist outcropping is near the park entrance. Rowe Schist is a silvery medium to coarse-grained schist containing garnet and muscovite mica. Schist is a metamorphic rock was formed under heat, pressure and hot fluid. The dark red garnets are 2-3 mm in size but not gem quality. The rocks forming Philip’s Cave are comprised of Rowe Schist.
Hours of operation
May to November
Daily 8:00 AM – sunset
Park admission is free
Putnam Memorial State Park
Routes 107 & 58
429 Black Rock Turnpike
Huntington State Park is 2 miles east of Putnam Memorial State Park. The 1,017 acres of fields, dense woodlands, five ponds, give canoeing, and fishing. The park’s Aspetuck Valley trail is perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Redding CT is a town of 9,158 population. In 1639 Roger Ludlow purchased land from local native Indians to establish Fairfield, and another tract, becoming Redding. Redding is a scenic area with steep slopes and rocky ledges. The highest elevation of 830’ is in the northeast part of the town at Sunset Hill. Four streams flow south through Redding toward Long Island Sound.
Danbury CT is a city of 80,893, the states seventh largest city, 70 miles from New York City. Colonists first settled it in 1685.
Putnam Memorial State Park is a 5 1/2 hour drive of 344 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 Thruway east to Syracuse, US 81 south to Scranton PA then US 84 east through New York to Danbury CT taking exit 5 and south on route 53. Then drive east on route 302 to route 58 south to Putnam Memorial State Park at the intersection of route 58 and route 107.
A park visitor made the following comment.
“It is a rustic park, but a special place due to the history of the place.”