Chapter VII – Building The Boulevard

The staff in the Wethersfield Town Engineer’s office found a 1935 map of the proposed Folly Brook Boulevard prepared by the “Regional Planning Commission of the Metropolitan District”, but no additional information. So I emailed the Metropolitan District Commission to see if they had any historical records or documentation that I might be able to use to help my research, and Matt Nozzolio, spokesman for the agency, sent me “copies from the MDC Commission minutes from 1933 and 1935 that may be of interest.”

The specifications for Folly Brook Boulevard set forth by the minutes of July 10, 1933 were an entertaining mixture of precise numeric details and eyeball approximations.

“The centerline to begin at a point in the south street line of Victoria Road, coordinates 37285.54, east 67001.05… 0.7 feet below woodwork at the southwest corner of the frame house numbered 420 Nott Street…64.62 feet westerly from a chisel mark on the concrete foundation at the northwest corner of the house numbered 78 Clearfield Street on the south side and about 40 feet west of Linden Street.”

Beyond the already existing Hartford Streets of Campfield Avenue and Victoria Road the Boulevard was to be one hundred feet wide at its northern extremity and seventy-five feet in width as it merges with Griswold “Street” (now Road) — “50 feet west [and east] of and parallel to the center line to a point about 397 feet north of the north street line of Prospect Street; thence to Prospect Street the west [and east] street line to be 37.5 west [and east] of and parallel to the center line and coincident with the west [and east] street line as now dedicated.”

This tapering of the roadway jibes with the configuration of the originally proposed Goodwin Parkway that likewise narrows down in roughly the same area to line up with Griswold Street. The “about 397 feet north of …Prospect Street” places the narrowing down point closer to Griswold Road than where it actually ended up. It seems likely that since construction of Folly Brook Boulevard ended at Nott Street and did not resume until Brimfield Road it was decided to begin the seventy-five foot portion of the Boulevard at that point rather than a few hundred feet down the road.

Land however was appropriated for the wider roadway.

“Note: All land east of the above-mentioned west street line, south of the present south street line of Prospect Street and west of the present west street line of Griswold Street to become part of Folly Brook Boulevard.”

Our deed says “Lots number 51 and 52 …were affected by the building line of the lay-out of the Folly Brook Boulevard as laid out by the Metropolitan District Commission [and]…are subject to said building line…” such that today the apron, sidewalk, and the outer rim of trees on the lawn of 284 Brimfield Road are officially on town/MDC property.

The MDC, as recorded in its April 1, 1935 minutes, approved the recommendation and “on August 9, 1934, voted to make assessment which was published August 16 and 17, 1934. Remonstrances against proposed assessment were received and a public hearing held on these remonstrances September 19, 1934.

“On February 26, 1935, the Bureau of Public Works having failed to agree with the respective parties entitled to damages or liable for betterments met as a court for the assessment of Betterments and Appraisement of Damages… The Metropolitan District…assessed the Benefits and appraised the Damages.

“Resolved: That all the proceedings in the laying out of Folly Brook Boulevard…are hereby established and confirmed…

“Resolved: That the Bureau of Public Works of the Metropolitan District be and it hereby us authorized to proceed with said layout and make and enter into
any necessary contracts…

The resolution passed.

On November 18, 1935 the MDC approved a request to apply for Federal funds to “help finance the construction of sewers…in the Folly Brook valley in Wethersfield.”

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