Sunday, November 13, 2016

Day 13: Briar Court Preserve and George & Frances Salvatore Memorial Preserve

Wetland preserves containing small stonewall and dam visible from Oak Avenue.

Briar Court Preserve

Size: 8.8 acres
Nearest Road: Ives Row
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: November 1982
Donor: George W. Richard

George & Frances Salvatore Memorial Preserve

Size: 3.18 acres
Nearest Road: Oak Avenue
Public Access: No
Acquisition: May 1991

Donor: Frances Salvatore

CLT's adjacent Briar Court Preserve and George & Frances Salvatore Memorial Preserve form a preserved open space corridor along a stretch of the upper Willow Brook watershed.  The properties are generally surrounded by the Briar Court, North Timber Lane, and Frances Court neighborhoods.

Briar Court Preserve was gifted to CLT in 1982; the George & Frances Salvatore Memorial Preserve nine years later, in 1991. 

Both preserves are in the vicinity of CLT's Strathmore Preserve and Willow Brook Preserve.  Combined, these four CLT properties wind through and around a number of neighborhoods that were the site of farms in (at least) the 19th and early 20th centuries. In particular, the area immediately around what is now Frances Court was previously part of the Salvatore family farm along Oak Avenue.  An aerial image from the 1934 Fairchild flight of Connecticut gives an idea of what the area looked like at that time.  While some farming in the 1930 is clearly evident, much of the area was actually wooded at the time.  The Fairchild flight is notable as the first statewide aerial photographic flight of the entire state of Connecticut, and provides a great tool for examining how our landscape has changed over the past 75 (so far) years.

Prior to the colonial farming, the the area was likely forested with a mix of hardwoods (e.g. oaks, maples, hickories) and possibly some softwoods (e.g. hemlock, pine), similar to the wooded areas seen in the 1934 picture.  The wetland boundaries of today may or may not be exactly the same as they were in years past.  While a cherished part of our cultural history, agricultural activities do at times push into wetland areas, altering and/or filling them completely.  The reduced amount of these areas and their functions on the landscape (such as flood control or wildlife habitat) was once reason they were designated for protection under several laws in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Do you live next to or near the Briar Court or Salvatore Preserve? Do you live next to or near the Briar Court Preserve or Salvatore Memorial Preserve?  Tell us about what you’ve seen on the land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire....

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