29 April 2012

Salmon River Archeological Sites

ENTRY FROM MY JOURNAL [1990s]: The text on the page reads:
     "Two young fishermen came up to me and asked if you had to smart to work at the nuke plant. To which I replied 'I certainly hope so!'
    "At the plant's entrance, double gates for a lock, like canal locks; they open one at a time, to let vehicles in or out.

    It has now been five years [2007] since the Connecticut Yankee Nuclear Power plant was literally taken apart and literally hauled away.
    With the exception of the spent nuclear waste cylinders that no one would accept, the entire plant was "decommissioned".

    Now a new chapter of the area's history has begun.
    Mind you, the area adjacent to where the plant once stood already had a rich history to share.
    Thanks in part to the efforts of the Office of State Archaeology (OSA), a new Archeological Survey of the Salmon River Cove has been completed [click here for a pdf file] to show what is already known of the area.
    The peninsula that housed the nuclear power plant, also was home for many Native American settlements, [here's a second link] and, in the late 1700s, was also where the homestead of Venture Smith, an African captured as a child, brought to the American colonies and sold as a slave. As an adult, he purchased his freedom and that of his family. He settled in Haddam Neck, and alongside Salmon River Cove.
    I bring all this up now in order to highlight a small, but dedicated, core group of people, the Connecticut Yankee Conservation Project [CYCP] are working at holding Connecticut Yankee's corporate stakeholders accountable for past promises to preserve the CY lands as open space. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to save some of the 500 plus acres of land as a part of the Silvio O. Conte Fish & Wildlife Refuge.
    According to a January 2012 Hartford Courant article written by Erik Hessleberg, Jim McHuchinson, a Haddam Neck resident and CY Conservation Project member, said the remoteness of the Connecticut Yankee property, a rocky wooded peninsula, and the encumbrance of fuel storage make preservation the best option. "Our group was formed for one purpose and that is to see the property preserved," McHuchinson said. "Once that happens, we're out of business."
    Until CYCP goes "out of business" I intend to keep track of their efforts to save this historically important piece of land.
IMAGE CREDITS: [1] Nuclear Power Plant ~ Will Brady's Journal; [2] Excerpt from the Salmon River Cove Archaeological District Survey booklet, co-produced by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, State Historic Preservation Office and the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, Connecticut Archaeology Center.

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