Kettletown State Park


Kettletown State Park is a 605-acre expanse that offers a little bit of everything. The main attraction is Lake Zoar, a damned section of the Housatonic River. It is the fifth largest freshwater body in the state, and visitors can swim in its cool waters and fish along its banks. A camping area offers 68 sites in both open and wooded settings, while an open field is designated for youth group camping. Interpretive programs offer naturalist talks on a variety of topics as well as nature walks. The diverse trails provide scenic vistas and glimpses of interesting species inhabiting the land. A trip to this western Connecticut park truly offers something for everyone.

Kettletown was originally inhabited by the Pootatuck Indians, members of the Algonquin group. Early colonists reportedly traded one brass kettle for use of the land for hunting and fishing. Eventually, the settlers acquired complete rights to the area and, by 1758, the Pootatucks had either migrated to the northwest or perished.

Although the Pootatucks were expert fisherman and hunters, their main occupation was farming. They raised fine crops of beans, squash, tobacco and apples. The Pootatucks developed a drum communications system which could carry a message over 200 miles in just two hours. All that remains now in the Kettletown area of this once prosperous tribe is an occasional arrowhead. In 1919, their original village was covered by the water of the Housatonic River when the Connecticut Light and Power Company constructed the Stevenson Dam to produce hydroelectric power. The resulting Lake Zoar is the fifth largest freshwater body in the state. The settlers who had used the land for dairy farming had deserted much of it as better farming land became available elsewhere.


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