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Urban Archeologist: Happy Birthday Candlewood Lake!

A look back at Candlewood Lake in the 1930s.

The official birthday of Candlewood Lake was September 28 and its 83 years old! It is a beautiful resource and landmark which was once described as Connecticut's Lake George.

In celebration of the birthday, I have a selection of Candlewood Lake memories I've found through the years. The piece in the nicest condition is a pamphlet from the Candlewood Lake Club on the Brookfield/New Milford border. This was billed as a select colony that required approval by a board before you could buy or build. This pamphlet was one of two I found in a northern New Milford estate sale. 

The other brochures are part of a larger story of which this article will be considered part 1, but it all started with a small Craig's List ad, a nearly empty house in Danbury, a dumpster and one phrase, “Make an offer.” As a result I was welcomed into the childhood home of three brothers who were cleaning it out and selling it for their invalid father. 

When a family decides to clean house I know from experience that very little is saved, as one of the brothers said to me as he tossed items in a dumpster, “Where are going to you put it all?” I know he was speaking rhetorically but it didn't stop me from trying to answer by putting at least some of it in my car. I came away with several photo albums and an entire suitcase of memories and sympathy for a nice family with a difficult task.

It was at the bottom of the old suitcase that I found the two other brochures (pictured) — Candlewood Isle in New Fairfield and Birch Groves in New Milford. Two very nice and established communities today, but back in the early ‘30s it was a developer’s feast to take this new lake and split up every parcel and offer it as a vacation spot. Many New York and New England residents with a little bit of money and a vacation home on their wish list visited, explored, toured and decided to buy. 

Take a look at more from the pages from these brochures and enjoy views of this Connecticut lake when it was surrounded mostly by woodland and pasture.

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story. You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.

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