Originally Published: 11/22/2013
In the 1968 aerial photo below, a portion has been edited to show a section of Jones Road in white, about midpoint of the picture. Jones Road starts there and continues to about the center of the picture and then makes a bend, resulting in Jones Road exiting the picture at the top edge. If you start at the left edge of the picture and travel west on Jones Road, the Dorothy Nolan school campus is the first parcel of land (the school shows up in white) on your left. The next large parcel of land was originally known as the Carr Farm. Opposite the Carr Farm is Carr Road, which would be on your right if traveling west on Jones Rd.
In 1968, there were no homes on the Carr Farm, which extended from the Dorothy Nolan School to half-way around the bend of Jones Road. About twenty years later, the back portion of the Carr Farm (35 acres) became the land that was given to the Town by Whitehead Brothers, Inc. (WHIBCO) in New Jersey for a park in exchange for the opportunity to develop the front section of the Carr Farm for residences. Roy McDonald, the Town Supervisor when the proposal was presented by WHIBCO, was extremely enthusiastic about the concept, as were the other Board members and many Wilton residents who had been working tirelessly to come up with an area for a Town Park in Wilton. Roy pointed out to me that the creation of the park was a tremendous team effort that was originally inspired by Bob Gavin, Wilton’s Town Supervisor from 1972 to 1976. For many years, Bob had been diligently trying to figure out a way to provide the residents of Wilton with a town park.
In the picture above, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the development of Wilton’s new park, which had been already officially named Gavin Park in honor of Bob Gavin. From left to right are Jim Robinson, Edie Young, Sue Gavin Lant, Gayle Gavin, Roy McDonald, a representative from WHIBCO, and Carol Green. Gayle’s grandchildren, Patrick and Bob, are in the front.
On July 23, 1988, the releasing of the balloons symbolized the grand opening of Gavin Park. In the event materials, it states: “fun and games for kids of all ages.” The event included a grand opening ceremony, dedication, and even a softball game (Wilton Recreation vs. Saratoga Recreation).
Gavin Park has a been a wonderful addition to the Wilton community. It is interesting to compare what we have today to the original facilities in 1988. The park is extensively used by people of all ages. In 1988, it is estimated that there were about 10 town-sponsored main programs and events in comparison to today’s 50. An example of a town-sponsored event is the Christmas Tree Lighting program
Many Wilton community members provided information and pictures for this article, including John Lant, Gayle Gavin, Roy McDonald, Kirk Woodcock, Steve Porto, Larry Gordon, and Jeannine Woutersz. Thanks!
This is the ninth of several columns by Dick Lasselle about various aspects of life in Wilton. Dick grew up on Putnam Lane in Wilton, just off Jones road, and now lives on property that was part of the Putnam farm originally owned by his great-grandparents. Dick’s sister, Linda Baker, and his mom, Doris Lasselle, are contributing toward the development of these articles.