Chapter VI – Connecting With Hartford

The major issue in the suburbanization of Wethersfield identified in the 1928 town plan was “Thoroughfare Connections With Hartford.”

“The thoroughfare facilities between Wethersfield and the down-town business district in Hartford must be of the best, in order to facilitate the proper development of the large vacant areas in Wethersfield.

“There are today [1928] but three thoroughfares in Hartford that extend in a southerly direction to the Wethersfield town line — Wethersfield Avenue, Franklin Avenue, and Maple Avenue. A fourth, Campfield Avenue, tops a half-block short of the Wethersfield town line…. Of the different thoroughfares that come down to the town line, only one — the New Haven Turnpike — traverses the entire town of Wethersfield.

What is now known as the Berlin Turnpike was, in 1928, called the New Haven Turnpike.

According to www.kurumi.com “Although the Berlin Turnpike never charged a toll, its ancestor did two centuries ago. In October 1798, the Hartford and New Haven Turnpike Company was created, and the road opening in 1799 was one of the first turnpikes to eschew existing roads and be built on as straight a line as feasible. (Though Berlin historian Kathleen Murray reports in a New York Times article that the Hartford – New Haven Path on this route dates back to 1717.)

“Leaving Hartford on Maple Street, the turnpike mostly followed today’s US 5 through Meriden into New Haven, entering on Whitney Avenue.

“I’m not sure if the name ‘Berlin Turnpike’ predates the time the road was widened in 1942 — there was no such name in the
19th-century turnpike era. But the road was nonetheless important, and included in Connecticut’s trunk line system in 1913. When the New England Interstate route numbering system was adopted in 1922, the road became part of New England Route 2. When the US route system was inaugurated in 1926, NE-2 became US 5.


In other words the Berlin Turnpike developed pretty much into what the 1928 Wethersfield town plan wanted, when it wanted it.

“The New Haven Turnpike through Wethersfield is merely an ordinary state highway with a substantial pavement 18 feet wide. The comprehensive plan would convert this thoroughfare into a formal parkway with a width of 200 feet.”

And another north-south thoroughfare, not mentioned at all in the 1928 town plan, probably satisfied the remaining north-south traffic requirements.

“The alignment of Route 99 was originally designated as part of New England Interstate Route 10 in the 1920s. The Silas Deane Highway was built in 1930 and New England Route 10 was shifted slightly west to use the new highway. In the 1932 state highway renumbering, the alignment was re-designated as Route 9. When Route 9 was upgraded to an expressway between I-91 and I-95 in 1969, the old surface alignment became Route 99.” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Silas_Deane_Highway)

With easy access to and from the city of Hartford along both the east and west borders of town (possibly financed by state and federal monies) there apparently was no longer any real need for a road of the size and complexity of Goodwin Parkway.

The 1928 Wethersfield town Plan says “This parkway, however, has a function that is almost as important — probably more important — than to serve traffic. The land of either side of Beaver Brook is low and marshy. Although the land is capable of being drained, this would be expensive, and it is a question whether, because of existing developments and the obstacles that might be thrown into the way of developing the land with private buildings might not be so great as to simply treat it as a parkway…. If present conditions are allowed to continue, it is feared that these may cast a blight upon large areas of land in either side and thus prejudice the best development of the whole town.”

The Goodwin Parkway was never built. Instead, as described in its minutes, on July 10, 1933 The Bureau of Public Works of
the Metropolitan [Water] District “respectfully” recommended “the layout of a street or highway to be known as Folly Brook Boulevard extending from Camp Field Avenue in Hartford to Griswold Road in Wethersfield.”

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