The Friends & Neighbors (FANS)
of Putnam Park is a not for profit group whose mission is
to help maintain and promote the historical, educational and
recreational values of Putnam Memorial State Park. The FANS
group is comprised of people, like you, who have an appreciation
for "this historical jewel in our midst." Our purpose is to
help insure that Putnam Park is preserved for future generations
as well as to promote its unique heritage to the community
How the FANS Group Got
When Putnam Park was officially
decommissioned & closed when State Parks' operating budgets
were pared back in the early 1990's, a small group of neighbors
and local supporters volunteered to physically maintain the
park the best they could from 1991 to 1997. 1997 was the year
the park was reopened, due largely to the persistent efforts
of these Friends and Neighbors (FANs) who lobbied the DEP
in Hartford for staffing and funding.
On the heels of their success
in reopening the park, the Friends and Neighbors of Putnam
Park hired a restoration consultant to offer an opinion of
whether or not the park's 1893 pavilion could be saved. The
consultant said "Save the pavilion!". Next the DEP State Parks
Division worked with architects to retrofit the Old 1893 Pavilion
into a modern day visitor center. The old structure was dismantled
piece by piece, beam by beam, and numbered. A new foundation
was excavated for a new walk-out cellar level. Then the building
was reconstructed using materials that were still sound. Today
the new visitor center is a all climate-controlled building
with rest rooms. The very expensive project included a new
and safer Rt. 107/Rt. 58 intersection, new parking lot, and
a new main entrance into the park. The visitor center grand
opening was held on October 11, 2005.
Putnam Memorial State Park
in Redding has been designated as Connecticut's first State
Archaeological Preserve. The designation, bestowed by the
Connecticut Historical Commission, recognizes the archaeological
importance of Putnam Memorial State Park and provides additional
administrative measures for the park's protection and professional
management. The "Friends and Neighbors of Putnam Memorial
State Park" (FANs) initially requested the designation. It
was later endorsed by DEP Commissioner Rocque and was officially
designated a State Archaeological Preserve on January 3, 2001.
The FANS Group Today
Today the FANS of Putnam
Memorial State Park continues to work with the DEP by providing
input and support for efforts to maintain the park. In addition,
the FANS group hosts many great learning programs throughout
the year (see event links to right).
On the second Monday of each
month the FANS group meets in the Visitors Center to discuss
the various programs and initiatives. All are welcome to attend
and become active in the FANS group.
To become an active member
or donate to support the FANS mission, click
Here’s just a few of the
things that members are involved in:
- T.G. Henderson, our Treasurer, proposed
and developed membership cards.
- Harry Gibson, one of our "resident"
historians, writes and produces our monthly newsletter.
- Nancy Cowles organizes our annual School
Days. This year's programs will be held from May 20-22.
School children from all over Western Connecticut are educated
on colonial ways by several very talented re-enactors.
- Jim Freebairn, Brian McCoy, David Solek,
Tom Castrovinci planned a special November 1st, 230th Anniversary
Re-enactment event which included an exciting new "Ghost
Tour" within the park.
- Brent Colley proposed and has developed this
new web site.
Interested in becoming
a FAN? We could use your help. The only qualification
is that you enjoy the park and appreciate its unique historical
heritage- That's more than enough to be a great committee
So how do you get started?
Just come to a meeting held on the second Monday of the month
at 7:00pm in the Vistors Center. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have any questions.