By Andrea Byrne
With thanks to Greg Carleton
Longbrook Park is situated in a charming neighborhood near Paradise Green. A quick look at a map of town will lead you to a delightful, worthwhile experience.
Longbrook Park has been many things to many people over the course of its long life. Thanks to a WPA project in the 1930’s, what began as a swamp was gradually transformed into the 34-acre park that has fostered treasured memories for generations of Stratford residents, and it’s right in the middle of town. The stone walls and bridges were constructed out of rock quarried from Stratford’s Roosevelt Forest.
Frequented in every season for its natural beauty, the park includes gentle walking paths as well as upper and lower Brewster Pond. In winters past families built bonfires near the edge of the frozen pond to warm themselves after skating. The pond is a stopover for migrating birds, and has been a spot for would-be sailors to pilot their remote-controlled boats. The Boy Scouts also hold their annual spring fishing derby there.
The park hosts summer youth camps and has a fun ‘splash pad’ near the Victoria Soto Playground. It’s the site of Penders Field, which is home to Stratford High School sports teams, and is also used by Little League, PAL baseball, Pop Warner football, cheerleading squads and more. Twice a year volunteers are invited to spend a Saturday morning cleaning, planting, landscaping, and tending to the ponds.
The Longbrook Park Commission, which oversees the use, preservation, development and maintenance of the park, is comprised of seven members, three of which are on the Town Council and all serve three-year terms. On May 5, 2010, the CT Historic Preservation Council placed Longbrook Park on the State Register of Historic Places.