Putnam Memorial State Park

Connecticut's Valley Forge

Friends & Neighbors

About Us

The Friends & Neighbors (FANS) of Putnam Memorial State Park is a non-profit group whose mission is to help maintain and promote the historical, educational and recreational values of the park.

Comprised of people like you with an appreciation for the historical jewel in our midst, the FANS group was founded to ensure that Putnam Park is preserved for future generations. We soon expanded to offer educational programs that promote greater understanding of Connecticut’s role in the Revolutionary War.

How the FANS Group Got Started

During significant budget cuts in the early 1990s, Putnam Memorial State Park was officially decommissioned & closed. Concerned by its deteriorating condition, a small group of neighbors and local supporters volunteered to physically maintain the park the best they could from 1991 to 1997. In 1997, the park was reopened, due in part to the persistent efforts of the Friends and Neighbors (FANS) who lobbied the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) 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 DEEP State Parks Division worked with architects to retrofit the old 1893 Pavilion into a modern Visitor Center. The old structure was dismantled board by board, with each board being numbered to aid in reconstruction. A new foundation was excavated for a new walk-out cellar level. Then the building was reconstructed using the materials that were still sound. Today, the beautifully restored Visitor’s Center is a climate-controlled building with modern rest rooms. The project included a new and safer Rt. 107/Rt. 58 intersection, a new parking lot, and a new main entrance into the park. The Visitor Center grand opening was held on October 11, 2005.

FANS also succeeded in their goal of getting the park 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. FANS initially requested the designation. It was later endorsed by DEEP 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 continue to work with DEEP by providing input and support for efforts to maintain the park. In addition, the FANS group hosts many learning programs throughout the year.

Meet the FANS