Memorials & Historical Markers
Scattered throughout the Tankerhoosen Valley are memorials and plaques commemorating events, people or historical objects. We pass them everyday but from our cars rarely notice or pause to learn why they have been placed there. We hope this section will encourage you to take a second look, increase your understanding of what came before us, give honor to those memorialized, and thanks to those who felt strongly enough about the past to create the memorials. Not included here are the many informational signs at the Belding Wildlife Management Area, Vernon Depot and in Talcottville.
This listing is only for those in the Tankerhoosen Valley. See Note below. You'll find many more in Rockville and along the Hockanum River. Click on photos to read inscriptions.
Belding Wildlife Management Area - Bolton Road
The 282-acre Belding WMA was donated to the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection by the Belding family in 1981. It adjoins the Tankerhoosen WMA and Valley Falls Park. The property includes a dammed pond, hiking trails, restoration projects and several fields including a flower meadow. It's a favorite area for hiking.
The memorial, located next to the pond, honors the family for donating the property to the people of Connecticut. They enjoyed fishing in the pond as represented in the image. The original plaque was stolen, but replaced a few years ago.
» Learn about the Belding Wildlife Management Area.
First Meeting House - Sunnyview Drive
Vernon's first church, built in 1762, was located on a high piece of land, now known as Meetinghouse Hill, a half mile east of Vernon Center overlooking the valley. At that time this area was known as North Bolton, as it would be until 1808.
The plaque is intended to mark the location and says, "June 20th 1762. On this site was erected the first meeting house known as Second Church of Bolton, now the First Congregational Church of Vernon."
The location of the plaque is a bit off. The actual site of the meeting house is on the crest of the hill overlooking the valley.
» Learn more about Meetinghouse Hill & our first meeting house.
General Lafayette's Visit - Lafayette Square
From July 1824 to September 1825, the last surviving French General of the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette, made a famous tour of the 24 states in the United States.
On Saturday, September 4, 1824 he stopped for breakfast in Vernon at King's Tavern on his way to Hartford. Lemuel King, who built the tavern, was known to Lafayette from the war.
The plaque was installed by the Sabra Trumbull Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is located at the intersection of Hartford Turnpike and Grove Street.
» Learn about Lafayette's visit.
Indian Trail Preserve - Bolton Road
The Indian Trail Preserve is a 7 acre wooded site located at the corner of Bolton Road and Indian Trail.
The property, as noted on the plaque, was donated to the Vernon Land Trust in 1991 by George Risley in memory of his wife Marjorie. It is now part of the Northern Connecticut Land Trust (NCLT).
The preserve is wooded containing small streams that flow into the Tankerhoosen River. There are marked trails for hiking.
» Learn about NCLT's Vernon properties.
Milanese Memorial - Henry Park
Carleton "Bebe" Milanese (1923-1995) was a coach for many years in the Vernon-Rockville area and former chairman of the Rockville Recreation Commission. In the 1960s, he was commissioner of the Babe Ruth League and was credited with salvaging the league when it was in danger of being disbanded. He also coached baseball for the Little League and the American Legion, and was one of the Rockville Midget League's original coaches.
Mr. Milanese was also chairman of the Rockville Recreation Commission for many years before the city merged with the town of Vernon. Because of his involvement with athletics, he was one of the few people given a lifetime pass to all Rockville High School athletic events.
The plaque is located at the South Street entrance to Henry Park.
» Learn about Bebe Milanese.
Mount Hope Civil War Memorial - Talcottville
Vernon has two memorials to the Civil War, the Memorial Building in Rockville and an obelisk in Mount Hope Cemetery in Talcottville.
The Mount Hope Cemetery in Talcottville is the home of Vernon's earlier Civil War monument, an obelisk located at the highest point in the cemetery.
The cemetery was dedicated in 1867 and the memorial monument was dedicated two years later in 1869 and restored in 2008. The memorial is an obelisk with the names engraved of those from the area who gave their lives in the war.
The Sunday before Memorial Day each year a parade is held from the Talcottville Church to the obelisk, where a ceremony takes place.
» Learn about Vernon's Civil War Monuments.
North Bolton Burying Ground - Bamforth Road
This is the oldest cemetery in Vernon, opened in 1751 and closed in 1851. Buried here are most of our earliest settlers and many Revolutionary War veterans, including 12 patriots who answered the Lexington alarm.
The story goes that this site was chosen for the cemetery because during Captain Moses Thrall's move from Bolton to Vernon one of Thrall's sons fell off a load of household belongs and was killed. He was buried where he died and this became the cemetery.
The plaque was installed in 1987 by the Vernon Historical Society.
» Learn about the Old North Bolton Cemetery.
Phoenix Mills - Phoenix Street
The Phoenix Mills were located on Phoenix Street and utilized water from the Tankerhoosen Dam. At the foot of the dam Vernon established a small park which includes this historical marker describing the history of the mills. The site held an early grist and saw mill by 1808, and a larger cotton mill in 1836.
The park was established with the assistance of the Talcott Family, the Hockanum River Linear Park Committee and the Town of Vernon.
» Learn about Phoenixville & the Phoenix Mills.
Talcottville Historic District - Main Street Talcottville
The mill village of Talcottville is a registered National Historic District, a well preserved historical example of an industrial village typical of 19th century America. The historic district consists of 33 buildings and two structures on 920 acres.
It was registered in 1989 and in 2010 historical signs were added, funded by state and federal grants, as were the street lights and replica trolley stop.
The plaque was placed by the Talcottville Historical Association.
» Learn about the history of Talcottville.
TCAC Niederwerfer Pavilion - Tolland County Agricultural Center
This pavilion at the Tolland County Agricultural Center was dedicated in 1977 to Frank Niederwerfer (1914-2003). It is located near the back of the property near the greenhouse.
Mr. Niederwerfer held many leadership positions and was influential in the activities of many environmental and agricultural organizations at the local, county, state, regional and national levels. He was a 4-H leader for over 55 years in Tolland County and conveyed to many young 4-Her's his love for animals, plants and the land.
He also helped develop the concept of and build the Tolland County Agricultural Center, and he worked to develop a Wildlife Sanctuary there.
» Learn about Frank Niederwerfer.
TCAC Time Capsule - Tolland County Agricultural Center
Each Summer in August the UConn Tolland County 4-H Club holds its fair at the Tolland County Agricultural Center.
In 2002 the club buried a time capsule as part of its 60th fair, to be opened on August 9, 2042 for their 100th 4-H Fair. It is located off the parking lot near the auction building.
» Learn about the UConn Tolland County 4-H Club.
Tunnel Bridge - Tunnel Road
As you approach the south side of the Tunnel Road tunnel there is a plaque commemorating the historical tunnel. Technically it is a bridge as it was constructed to go over Tunnel Road. The stone arch bridge is 110 feet in length and was built in 1849. It is a rare engineering structure from Connecticut's first generation of railroad construction and built primarily by Irish immigrants.
The plaque was placed in 2011 by the Vernon Parks & Recreation Department. The area was prepared and is maintained by the Vernon Greenways Volunteers.
» Learn about the Tunnel Bridge.
Valley Falls Heritage Trail - Valley Falls Park
The Valley Falls Heritage Braille Trail was originally developed in 1996 as an Eagle Scout project by 17-year-old Brad Stewart. It provides signs explaining the area and the old Valley Falls Cotton Mill.
It was refurbished in 2012 to include 17 new metal Braille signs, brick and concrete paving of the walkway, and trail improvements. The multi-access trail is a popular attraction at Valley Falls Park for all ages and abilities.
» Learn about the Braille Trail's re-dedication.
Vernon's Milestone - Vernon Center
In front of the new Arts Center East is a granite stone enclosing one of the last milestones from Colonial days. The milestone dates back to 1801 when the McLean Tavern stood here to greet passengers on the frequent stages travelling to Boston or New York.
The milestone, erected by Hartford and Tolland Turnpike Company, is set in a Barre granite slab and the tablet is bronze with the insignia of the D.A.R.
The marker was placed by the Sabra Trumbull Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on Flag Day, June 14, 1984.
» Learn about Vernon's milestone and the Post Road.
Whitney T. Ferguson III - Exit 66 West
Whitney T. Ferguson III was killed in action in Vietnam on March 11, 1969. He was 23 years old and received the Bronze Star for valor. In 1984 the town named the access road to Exit 66 West in his honor. A small garden is located at the site.
An award is given in his name annually to a student at Rockville High School.
» Read his Vietnam Veterans Memorial Virtual Wall entry.
Wings Butterfly Garden - Lake Street
The Wings Butterfly Garden is for families who have suffered the deaths of their babies or unborn children. It contains two plaques - one dedicating the garden in 2010, and the other honoring the donors Charles and Natalie Platt.
It is owned and maintained by the Town of Vernon. With many azaleas and rhododendrons it is particularly lovely in May and is open to everyone to enjoy.
» Learn about the Wings Butterfly Garden.
There are many other memorials in the Tankerhoosen Valley that are not included here. I chose 16 that were historical, significant donations, or unique in some way.
"Historical Marker Database."