Wolcott Historical Society News - February 2011
By Florence Goodman
In this edition, I will discuss the farms that were found in the North District of town.
The North District borders Bristol and is found around Cedar Lake and the Alcott School area. Atkins, Plumb, Bradley, Welch, Johnson, Lane, Sanford and Bailey were some of the families found in this area on the 1868 map of Wolcott.
As I have mentioned in previous articles, the town had a historic inventory done in 1986, which located many of the older and historically significant homes in our town. I have used it as source for much of my research. It has been a wonderful resource, but when I searched the inventory for historically significant homes in the northern section of our town, I came up with only two.
Much of the land where Cedar Lake is located today was swampy farmland. In the mid 1860s, the Mad River Company, a group of Waterbury manufacturers, purchased land to build Cedar Swamp Reservoir. The Plumb family owned most of the land in this swampy area. They were considered one of the most prominent land holding families in the northern section of town with property extending from the lake area to the intersection of North Street and Wolcott Road. Two of their original homes are still in existence today. The Wells Plumb home, found at 114 North Street is located on the northern side of this road at the western end of Cedar Lake and was built circa 1850. The Orlando Plumb home, found at 1623 Wolcott Road on the western side of the road just south of North Street was built circa 1855.
During the early 1900s, the Mad River Company began selling off land adjacent to the reservoir. Some buyers bought the land to farm or build homes, while others built small summer cottages on the property close to the lake.
The Lone Oak Farm was found in the northern section of town on Woodtick Road and was owned by the Lewandoski family. There were four Lewandoski brothers whose family came from Poland and lived in Waterbury; they were John, Steve, Thomas and Anthony. On November 25, 1913, these brothers purchased farmland in the northern section of Wolcott. Thomas, Steve, and Anthony purchased 121 acres of land on Woodtick Road out to Wolcott Road, which came in two parcels; one parcel was from the estate of Michael Neville and the other was from the Minor estate. In fact, the long hill on Wolcott Road from Pat's IGA up to the American Legion was referred to as Minor Hill.
Thomas and his family ran the Lone Oak Farm, which extended from Wolcott Road near the intersection of Woodtick Road along the driveway of Alcott School all the way to the New Britain Water Company Reservoir and the Pikiell's property on Beecher Road. It went down Woodtick Road to where Laura Street is today and out to where the telephone tower is located on Wolcott Road across from Continental Scrap Metal.
The Woodtick Road farmhouse was built in the mid-1700s and was located across from where Thomas Street is today. There were also several out-buildings next to the house and the barns were built across the street from the farmhouse. The dairy farm was in existence until the 1930s, when the state required all dairy farmers to pasteurize their milk.
Pasteurization machines were very costly so milk production was discontinued and the dairy farm was turned into a truck (produce) farm. A fire caused by vandals in the mid-1900s destroyed the old farmhouse. Lone Oak Avenue got its name from that old farm and some of the farmland was sold to the town to build Alcott School.
The Lewandoski brothers also purchased property on Wolcott Road in October of 1913. John, Steve and Anthony leased 93 acres of land with an option to buy on Wolcott Road near Cedar Lake from the Thatcher family. In 1918, John also acquired another 50 acres of land just south of the land he and his brothers had leased. John and his wife had nine children; their farmhouse was located on Wolcott Road just south of Wolcott Stove. These brothers and their families farmed the land on both sides of Wolcott Road for many years.
John was not only a farmer, but also an entrepreneur with a vision for the future. He built a one-room tavern across the street from where North Street intersects Wolcott Road and a small house to the north of the tavern. The family referred to it as "Uncle John's Tavern." After John passed away, his son, Thomas and his wife, Helen, took over the tavern and added a dining room in the back. This new restaurant was called "Cedar View Restaurant." There is still a restaurant/bar on the premises today. John's oldest son, Walter, took over the house north of the tavern and is still living there.
Just north of John's property was a farm owned by the Stryeski family. This farm covered a large parcel of land on both sides of the Wolcott Road and into Bristol, but I have no other information about this farm. If anyone has any information about the history of this farm or any other farms in this section of town, please contact me. Next month I hope to finish up this section on farms of Wolcott with a story about a potato farm that was located across from Wolcott High School.
(Much of the information for this article was taken a January 2011 interview with Bob Lewandoski, who was the grandson of Thomas Lewandoski and from The 1986 Historic Resources Inventory by J.P. Loether.)
Our Schoolhouse Museum is open by appointment only; you may visit the Museum by calling Loretta Leonard at 203-879-4310 or Flo Goodman at 203-879-9818. Our meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at the Old Stone School on Nichols Road at 6:30 P.M. unless snow cancels them in the winter season.
An old milk bottle from Lone Oak Farm found by George Maher around Beecher Road.
Lone Oak Farm homestead built circa 1750s was located on Woodtick Road.
Lewandoski barn across the street from the farmhouse.
Thomas, Anthony and Steve Lewandoski.
John Lewandoski in front of Tavern on Wolcott Road.
Wells Plumb home found at 114 North Street.
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