Trumbull Woods

Trumbull Woods

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 Trumbull  Woods was  once a deserted  farm that belonged  to the James Ellsworth  Estate. The overgrown orchards,  natural springs, woodlands and wildflower  filled meadow came to the attention of Dr.  Harlan and Mrs. Dorothy Trumbull in 1935 while  they were searching for a small parcel of land  to provide “wholesome exercise and enjoyment” for themselves  and their young son, Gordon. The Trumbulls were delighted by  the wild beauty of the property and purchased the 47 acre parcel  intending to use it as a retreat and nature preserve. Both of the Trumbulls were  chemists so The Acres appealed to their keen interest in science and the natural  world. They would spend the next 44 years dedicating countless weekends to clearing debris,  growing numerous varieties of native plant life and cutting trails through the woodlands. They  developed relationships with several naturalists who helped them identify the surrounding flora and fauna which  lent to hours of plant observation and birdwatching.

In  1936 the Trumbull’s  built a small summer  cottage to serve as a  casual gathering place “where  hospitality and cheer could abound”.  They shared the bounty of their apple  trees and vegetable garden with friends and  colleagues. Additionally, they hosted picnics, campfires,  holiday dinners and nature walks.

Historically  interesting are  the accounts that  Johnny Appleseed planted  an apple tree here in 1837  and the children of abolitionist John  Brown roamed these woods in the 1840s,  collecting water from the spring that can be found beside the cottage. Just under the bridge next to the remaining fireplace, a stone can still be seen with  the words HEALTH 1841 etched onto its surface. Reportedly, one of John Brown’s sons etched the words because the spring was safe to drink from. People drinking from untreated water sources during this period often became ill and died so this was a blessing for the Brown family who lived a primitive lifestyle in the woods.

The Acres  would encounter  some misfortune in  years to come. In 1965,  approximately 12 acres of meadowland and  forest were destroyed when US Freeway  480 was built through the property. In  1971, the cottage was razed by the Hudson  Fire Department at the request of Dr. Trumbull  due to persistent vandalism. The stone fireplace where many  merry evenings were spent still remains standing.

By 1978,  the aging  Trumbells decided  to determine the fate  of the remaining 20 acres  of their beloved retreat. Both  felt they had a “duty to posterity  to pass on the physical and spiritual  benefits they had enjoyed for nearly half their  lives “ while owning The Acres. In 1979, the remaining  property was deeded to the Hudson park system to be used  and maintained as the Trumbull Woods Nature Preserve we enjoy  today.