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Snippets of News from the Evening Sentinel


November 3, 1905: Automobile owners would like to see a road from Derby to Zoar Bridge in Stevenson, and another good road from there to Shelton, making a loop. The idea has many hurdles, many farmers along the route would be opposed due to the frequency of automobiles striking poultry and other livestock. The route is less for convenience - automobiles are still considered a novelty, and "motoring" is a popular sport. Right now the most popular "good road" for motoring is from Derby to Seymour, but enthusiasts consider it too short.


July 16, 1906: Growing Fond of Lake Housatonic - Lake Housatonic is getting more popular every year and one sign of the appreciation with which it is regarded is shown by the great number of people who are camping out along the banks and who make almost daily trips as far as Squantuc, Zoar Bridge, Otter Rock, the Log Cabin1, Stevenson, and even further up. Since the first of this month2 hundreds have camped along its banks and a great number of working people, who have heretofore gone to far away pleasure resorts, have passed their vacations on the lake, and have returned regretting they could not spend more time there. At the present time the banks on either side of the water are well populated with pleasure seekers. Everybody is enthusiastic. Men who have traveled considerably and have been up the Hudson, to the Catskills, to the Adirondacks, and in Main, and out west say they prefer Lake Housatonic as a pleasure resort to any place that they have ever been.


July 15, 1932:  All Boy Scout Camps on the Housatonic are now open. This includes Camp Irving and Camp Pershing in Shelton, Camp Palmer opposite Irving in Oxford, and Camp Waramaug and Camp Pomperaug on Lake Zoar.


April 19, 1933 - Otto Rapp, proprietor of Rapp's Restaurant on Howe Avenue, has leased Otter Rock Park on River Road, one mile below the Stevenson Dam, which he will turn into a beer garden called "Rapp's Old Heidelberg". He will serve dinners and cater parties and clambakes.


March 18 1934:  The long awaited breaking of the ice above the Stevenson and Ousatonic dams finally occurs.  Hundreds watch the ice flow downriver but there is no damage. The river is now clear for navigation.


June 25, 1934: President Roosevelt Passed Through Derby Saturday.  With less than three hours’ notice of his coming, President Franklin D. Roosevelt found Derby turned out in thousands with flags and huzzas to greet him on Saturday1 morning when he passed through here en route to Hyde Park by way of Danbury, having attended the boat races in New London on Friday.  Already a movement has been started to change the name of River Road to Roosevelt Drive as a result of his passing along that boulevard.

Arriving at the Orange town line with an escort of state troopers on motorcycles and in cars, followed by secret service men, the presidential party was met by Chief of Police Thomas E. VanEtten and Motorcycle Officer Ivan Cable, who furnished an escort of honor to the Stevenson Dam. From there, Officer Cable accompanied the escort to Newtown. … Every available place was taken by automobiles from Stevenson Dam in Oxford to Derby Avenue in New Haven.


April 29 1935:  OXFORD – The road over Stevenson Dam is added to the state trunk line system.


April 15, 1957 - DERBY - Rev. Charles E. Benedict dies at his home in Thomaston at age 64. He served as pastor of the Derby Methodist Church 1911 to 1915. During his tenure he founded the Valley's first Boy Scout Troop - Troop 1, which was sponsored by the church. The Troop ran its own summer camp, Camp Hemlock, which was located at Zoar in Oxford, in an area now under Stevenson Dam.


1958_August 6:  OXFORD - A new spillway is under construction at Stevenson Dam, which will for the first time allow the Connecticut Light & Power Company to control the water flow.


1959-January 22   OXFORD - New mercury vapor lights have been installed on the Stevenson Dam bridge, making it by far the brightest street in Oxford. The Connecticut Light & Power Company installed twin taintor gates on the dam at an angle downstream, altering part of the dam and eliminating a sharp traffic approach. The gates will increase the dam's spillway capacity and give it better control of high waters such as that encountered during the 1955 floods. The spillway approach channel is still under construction.


April 5 1960   OXFORD – The new floodgates are opened at the Stevenson Dam for the first time, attracting many spectators.

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