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History of Nod Hill and Following in the Footsteps of Five Generations
History on Nod Hill
What is the history of stone gate at 263 Nod Hill?
For Steve and Karen Flanagan, the rounded stone gate at the edge of their property is a perfect landmark to give first time visitors. But its rich history actually traces back to the 1930s. For decades, the stone arches marked the entrance to the Rumley Estate, a 60-plus acre parcel of land which surrounded a single majestic home, one which still stands today on Charter Oak Drive.
“We bought our house in 1993 and immediately learned the history of the gate,” Steve says. “Our neighbor Rick Parisot told us it used to mark a long entrance from Nod Hill and was lined with all kinds of fruit trees.”
Parisot and his family have been part of the neighborhood for generations: his parents and grandparents were friendly with the Rumleys. “I have a vivid memory of a time when you could stand on the veranda of their house and look all the way out to Keeler’s Ridge to see the cows grazing,” he says.
Sometime around 1970, the Rumleys donated their estate to their church. By the mid-1970s, the church sold the land, and Charter Oak Drive was created. Hillbrook Road, a dirt road off of Nod Hill that had been extended in the late 1960s, was further extended to connect with Charter Oak, and the neighborhood’s current configuration was born.
The view to Keeler’s Ridge from the former Rumley estate is now filled in with trees, and the home itself is surrounded by a neighborhood full of families, but the gate on Nod Hill remains.
Following in the Footsteps of Five Generations
What’s the history of Gregory’s Sawmill on Route 7?
Anyone who drives up Danbury Road recognizes the familiar sight of large piles of wood, wisps of smoke, and mulch of every hue. What some may be surprised to know, however, is that Gregory’s Sawmill has been in operation, in that same location, since 1856. Current owner Taber Gregory represents the fifth generation to run the business; he says he learned everything from his father, grandfather, and great uncle. “They were incredible. They could fix or fabricate anything,” he says. “My dad didn’t let me run the saws for quite some time, but I learned by watching and listening so that I could follow in his footsteps.”
Taber grew up in the former Gregory Homestead, built in 1790. Adjacent to the sawmill, the property included enough land to keep pigs, goats, and chickens. In its early days, the focus of the business was on making hand tools and planks for horse-drawn wagons. Later, things became more fast-paced as the emphasis shifted to making building materials for the construction industry. “People are very into rustic furniture now, so there is a demand for antique lumber,” he says.
Taber plans to carry on his family’s work and passion. “It’s a labor of love, seven days a week. You have to be committed, and you have to enjoy what you do.”