Shade Swamp Sanctuary, "The Abandoned Zoo," Farmington

April, 2016 by Ray Bendici

The Damned Story: Over the decades, all manner of home, settlement and structure has been swallowed up by Connecticut's woodlands. From Gay City State Park to Little Genesee and Cunningham Tower to Gungywamp, the state's forests have claimed dozens of once-prominent features.

What's even more interesting is how many of these locations are so close to public view but are never noticed.

Take the case of the "abandoned zoo" site in Farmington. Located on busy Route 6, hundreds of motorists drive by the former Shade Swamp Sanctuary every day, never guessing that the creepy remnants of an animal sanctuary are less than 50 yards away.

But then again, it was created in part to be a roadside wildlife attraction, so it makes sense that it's so close to the road.

In 1926, the state of Connecticut acquired the initial 140 acres of Shade Swamp as a donation from Walter W. Holmes. Over time, the adjacent land was acquired, making for the 800-acre site it is today.

In 1934, the Connecticut Department of Fish and Game opened the Shade Swamp Sanctuary, a wildlife management area where injured birds and quadrupeds were cared for before being released back into the wild. Small steel cages and pens were built, some with stonework dens to give denizens shelter.

In addition to tending to injured animals, the breeding of raccoons (for sportsmen to hunt) was undertaken at the sanctuary, as were experiments in the propagation of cottontail rabbits. The sanctuary was also year-round home to all sort of local endangered and rare critters.

According to a 2009 Hartford Courant article by Peter Marteka:

With words like "sanctuary" and "zoo" being mentioned in the 1930s, many people wanted to bring all sorts of wildlife to the area. Monkeys, alligators, bears and parrots were taken to the sanctuary with unfulfilled hopes of finding them a new home. According to a 1936 artile in The Courant, the owner of a carnival stranded in a nearby town wanted to leave a young giraffe in the care of the sanctuary.

The majority of the breeding experiments were ended in the late 1930s, and the site was officially abandoned by the state in the 1960s.

As like with anything left unattended in the great outdoors, the woods will eventually claim it. Now, the only wildlife that live here are chipmunks, squirrels, birds and all other small forest creature that have nestled in and around the empty, rusted cages.

Our Damned Experience: We left the kids behind and visited Shade Swamp Sanctuary and the abandoned zoo in early Spring 2016. It was early enough in the season that most of the cages weren't overgrown with seasonal vegetation and were easy to spot.

The zoo is about a two-minute stroll from the parking area, so calling it a "hike" is sort of like referring to this spot as a "zoo"—may be a bit of overzealous description. The remnants of metal cages line both sides of the path; smaller ones on the eastern side and larger ones that seemed to incorporate blue wooden structures on the west side.

Considering how many years it's been since the majority of the enclosures were constructed, it is surprising how many of the structures were in recognizable condition, particularly the smaller cages. As you can see in the photo gallery (below), the majority of the stonework arches (dens?) seem perfectly intact. It could be that the surrounding pine trees provided shelter and helped to reduce the lower-growing vegetation that would more quickly destroy the structures.

Still, a few former pens have been decimated by vandals or the forest itself—fallen trees have done a decent amount of damage, and years of rugged New England weather have made for a lot of rusted and rotted sections.

The whole site occupies no more than a few thousand square feet.

Yes, we did go inside a few of the cages—sort of creepy and not for everyone.

Behind many of the dens are rectangular, concrete-lined openings in the ground (maybe for feeding?). Each, is only about a foot wide by a foot-and-a-half long, and the "drop" into the den below is about two feet.

Not surprisingly, we didn't see anything unusual—a few birds, a chipmunk or two. No lurking ghosts of lions or tigers or bears, oh my!

If You Go: The 800-acre Shade Swamp Sanctuary in on the north side of Route 6 (Scott Swamp Road) in Farmington, just east of New Britain Avenue, just behind the rustic, dilapidated wooden shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934. Like most nature areas and hiking areas, it is open from dawn to dusk.

About 50 yards from the road you'll see a bench and a sign that says, "Blue Trail," a 1.5-mile loop if you choose to do a full hike. Follow the trail to the left and around a little bend to the right, and about 15 yards past that you'll see the first cages. Seriously, if you walk more than three minutes, you've somehow passed it. Essentially, it's about 10 yards behind the bench and sign.

A few words of caution: We noticed there was a bit of poison ivy around some of the cages, so try to stay on the main path if you visit during the summer months. Oh, and there's plenty of mosquitos and other flying pests, so plan accordingly.

Again, if you venture off the path to explore and go behind the cages, beware of the rectangular openings in the ground—a wrong step certainly won't kill but you might end up with a few nasty scrapes and bruises.

Also, with the number of rusted, broken metal cages around, we would recommend that your tetanus immunizations are up to date.

 

Comment with Facebook

Comments

Submitted by countrypaul on
I'm new to your site and am very much impressed. I lived in CT from 1971 to 1994 or so and wish you'd been posting then. (Of course, "on line" then wasn't what it is now!) I appreciate all the research, and have joined the site today. I noticed that in many comment sections there is an abundance of spam; do you monitor that? I now it must be a lot of work, but Persian rug dealers (yeah, right) and others, seem to be popping up in a variety of places; one of the worst offenders in on the Helmsley mansion page. By the way, I'm amused that the Connecticut "curiosity" webpage is "Damned Connecticut"; here in my new home state of New Jersey, we have "Weird New Jersey," an excellent companion site to yours. I've also lived in Rhode Island (home of the Rhode Island Encyclopedia), three states with different inferiority complexes, which definitely gives one a certain perspective on the world. Keep up the good, entertaining and informative work!

Linda's picture
Submitted by Linda on
My Heart is fill with joy after Dr Ogala cast the Lottery spell for me, I felt enveloped by the control of the spell. This spell change my life into riches,i now have my own car and a house. I am now out of debts and experiencing the most amazing good luck with lottery after i won a huge amount of money. I have more luck now than I ever had in my life. i won one million dollars (1,000,000.00 Your Lottery spell made wonders, I can’t believe it. Thank you so much sir for dedicating your time to cast the Lottery spell for me.”I am eternally grateful for the lottery spell Dr Ogala did for me. You can email him for you own lottery number. [email protected] or call +2348147673679 Website http://ogalalovespell.wix.com/ogalalovespell

Submitted by okocho on
I never came here, I was really impressed when I read about it http://www.frivmini.com

packersMoversDelhi's picture
Submitted by packersMoversDelhi on
I agree with you. This post is truly inspiring. I like your post and everything you share with us is current and very informative, I want to bookmark the page so I can return here from you that you have done a fantastic job. We Provide Best Packers And Movers Delhi List for Get Free Best Quotes, Compare Charges, Save Money And Time, Household Shifting Services @ Packers-and-Movers-Delhi.in http://packers-and-movers-delhi.in/ http://packers-and-movers-delhi.in/packers-and-movers-dwarka-delhi http://packers-and-movers-delhi.in/packers-and-movers-gurgaon

Submitted by khairyayman on
اهم شركات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران http://emc-mee.com/movers-in-riyadh-company.html شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-jeddah.html شركة نقل عفش بجدة http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-dammam.html شركة نقل عفش بالدمام http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-almadina-almonawara.html شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-taif.html شركة نقل عفش بالطائف http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-mecca.html شركة نقل عفش بمكة http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-yanbu.html شركة نقل عفش بينبع http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-buraydah.html شركة نقل عفش ببريدة http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-alkharj.html شركة نقل عفش بالخرج http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-qassim.html شركة نقل عفش بالقصيم http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-khamis-mushait.html شركة نقل عفش بخميس مشيط http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-tabuk.html شركة نقل عفش بتبوك http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-abha.html شركة نقل عفش بابها http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-najran.html شركة نقل عفش بنجران http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-hail.html شركة نقل عفش بحائل http://emc-mee.com/transfer-furniture-dhahran.html شركة نقل عفش بالظهران

rajmalhotra's picture
Submitted by rajmalhotra on
movers and packers in mumbai @ http://www.movingsolutions.in/packers-and-movers-in-mumbai.html Packers and Movers Gurgaon @ http://www.movingsolutions.in/packers-and-movers-in-gurgaon.html

Submitted by jessica88801 on
'After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: [email protected] or call him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS'

Linda's picture
Submitted by Linda on
My Heart is fill with joy after Dr Ogala cast the Lottery spell for me, I felt enveloped by the control of the spell. This spell change my life into riches,i now have my own car and a house. I am now out of debts and experiencing the most amazing good luck with lottery after i won a huge amount of money. I have more luck now than I ever had in my life. i won one million dollars (1,000,000.00 Your Lottery spell made wonders, I can’t believe it. Thank you so much sir for dedicating your time to cast the Lottery spell for me.”I am eternally grateful for the lottery spell Dr Ogala did for me. You can email him for you own lottery number. [email protected] or call +2348147673679 Website http://ogalalovespell.wix.com/ogalalovespell

Shannon-Smith's picture
Submitted by Shannon-Smith on
How I Got My Ex Husband Back........... I am Shannon by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address [email protected] , have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 2 days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband. Thanks for Dr.Mako. His email: [email protected] OR. his phone number: +2348108737816.

Shannon-Smith's picture
Submitted by Shannon-Smith on
-How I Got My Ex Husband Back........... I am Shannon by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address [email protected] , have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 2 days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband. Thanks for Dr.Mako. His email: [email protected] OR. his phone number: +2348108737816.

Submitted by bakerkjackseo on
The dexterity of lenders have led to the rise of Text Loans in the fiscal market of the country and relying up on it will give you the benefits of the cash help when in need. Bring down the economic hassles and live with an ease by borrowing these funds. 100 Text Loans UK @ http://www.onlineloans.me.uk/ Quick Text Loans UK @ http://www.onlineloans.me.uk/ Text Loans same day @ http://www.onlineloans.me.uk/ £1000 Payday Loans @ http://www.onlineloans.me.uk/

Submitted by bakerkjackseo on
Guidance of the lender will help you get an access to Loans after you agree to shell out a few minutes of your time. There will be no formalities and based on your requirements, cash help can be amassed that you can utilize in financing your pressing needs and desires. Same day Loans - http://www.quick12monthpaydayloans.co.uk/same-day-loans.html 12 month loans bad credit - http://www.12monthloansbadcredit.co/ Text Loans - http://www.777loans.co.uk/

Submitted by cameronrobertseo on
Gain Loans as a method to evolve from the fiscal woes which have been crushing your ability to look after requirements that cannot be shelved. Borrow the right amount directly from the lender himself who will keep you off from various charges and application fees to be paid. 100 pound text loans - http://www.online12monthloans.co.uk/ Text Loans - http://www.ineedcash.me.uk/instant-text-loans.html 3 month payday loans - http://www.3monthpaydayloans.co/

Submitted by cameronrobertseo on
Seeking Loans to enhance your fiscal life is the best solution to avail when you have been going through troubles. Without any formalities introduced by the lenders, a number of people in the country have been able to fetch the amount from their comforts on the same day. 3 Month payday Loans Online @ http://www.3monthpaydayloansonline.co.uk/ Quick Text Loans @ http://www.jkloans.co.uk/ Same Day Loan Sunday @ http://www.onlinecashloansuk.co.uk/

Submitted by cameronrobertseo on
Solve the fiscal woes by seeking Loans which have been crafted by the lenders who will be offering you the sufficient amount on the same day of applying so that you can make your ends meet and quickly make the reimbursement in monthly installments and a low interest rate. £500 Text Loans @ http://www.loans8.co.uk/ Text payday loans 7 days - http://www.onlineloans.me.uk/ 100 Pound Loan Today - http://www.quickloans.me.uk/

theresawilliam's picture
Submitted by theresawilliam on
Hello, I am Theresa Williams After being in relationship with Anderson for years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to my friend and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem. email: [email protected] you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or any other Case. 1) Love Spells 2) Lost Love Spells 3) Divorce Spells 4) Marriage Spells 5) Binding Spell. 6) Breakup Spells 7) Banish a past Lover 8.) You want to be promoted in your office 9) want to satisfy your lover Contact this great man if you are having any problem for a lasting solution through [email protected]

PrenaSharma's picture
Submitted by PrenaSharma on
We Provide Best Packers And Movers Gurgaon List for Get Free Best Quotes, Compare Charges, Save Money And Time, Household Shifting Services @ Packers-and-Movers-Gurgaon.in #PackersMoversGurgaon Provides Packers Movers Gurgaon, Movers Packers in Gurgaon, Local Shifting Gurugram, Relocation, Packers and Movers Gurugram, Local Household Shifting, Office Shifting, Logistics and Transportation, Top Packers Movers Gurgaon, Best Packers Movers Gurgaon, Good Movers Packers in Gurgaon, Home Shifting Gurgaon, Household Shifting Gurgaon, Cheap Top Movers Packers in Gurgaon, Moving and Packing Service Company Gurgaon. http://packers-and-movers-gurgaon.in/ http://blog.packers-and-movers-gurgaon.in/

Rekhash's picture
Submitted by Rekhash on
I must say you had done a tremendous job,I appreciate all your efforts.Thanks alot for your writings......Waiting for a new 1 http://packers-movers-bangalore.in/ http://blog.packers-movers-bangalore.in/

Submitted by rakshajain on
Your website content is fabulous and awesome but I would like to say your website also good. Thanks for sharing... Keep it up.. http://packersmoversmumbaicity.in/ http://blog.packersmoversmumbaicity.in/