Thursday, July 2, 2015

Re: Flags

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL:    I had thought to post this without comment, but I took it in 2011 before flags were in the news, in order to tell the story of High Rock, and so I add this footnote.

This is High Rock. Those who drive Route 8 know this stretch where the Naugatuck Valley narrows between Beacon Falls and Naugatuck.  Men with dynamite blasted into the hillside to let the highway through, but the valley remains rocky and narrow by High Rock. From time to time people plant a flag here, though few realize how fitting the display at one of democracies minor monuments.

From the highway today this region feels remote and wild. Few remember that in 1880, in the era before trolleys made people mobile, George W. Beech, Superintendent of the Railroad, created High Rock Grove, planted gardens and built a pavilion for roller skating. He built a platform by the tracks, and for a quarter century people came from up and down the Naugatuck Valley to picnic and party and row in the still waters behind the factory dam. There was always live music. What other kind? And people dancing, hiking, having fun in a variety of accents and languages. There were extra trains on the fourth of July, and the Valley mingled. Today it’s just a clearing at the end of a dirt road where waters tumble from a mountain gorge and trails lead here, to the top of High Rock. People celebrate elsewhere, and hikers know little of what happened here.