Stamford CT’s Cove Park And The Historic Cove Island Houses

Stamford CT’s Cove Park And The Historic Cove Island Houses

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One of Stamford, Connecticut’s favorite waterfront open spaces is Cove Park which is home to the Cove Island Houses on the National Register of Historic Places. The Cove Island Houses are actually a single house that was first built in 1791. It’s a Georgian style house with an older Federal style wing. The Cove Island Houses are the last remaining structure from the great fire that destroyed the Stamford Mills in 1919.

The Cove Island Houses began as a small tidewater gristmill on the eastern edge of Cove Island. The Stamford Manufacturing Company over the next century grew to become Stamford’s largest factory.

In 1832, the mill was on the leading edge of the science of extracting textile dyes from dyewood that was needed by the booming textile industry. By the late 1800’s, the Stamford Manufacturing Company was employing over 500 workers on 70 acres of waterfront in the Cove section of Stamford. The mill’s primary product was the extraction of textile dyes from exotic tropical woods, barks and licorice paste used in drugs.

On February 19th, 1919, a fire started in one of the acid storage rooms of the giant Cove Mills complex and it quickly spread to become by far the most destructive fire in Stamford history.

The flames were fueled by a strong northwest wind that completely overwhelmed the combined power of all of the surrounding community’s firefighting units. The sky was filled with an apocalyptic red glow and thousands of spectators assembled on the high ground above the mills as boilers blew up, the extraction vats exploded and factory walls collapsed.

The winds were so strong two barges cut loose from their moorings and were blown into the danger and spectators watched anxiously when two women and three men required rescue from being blown into a scene of burning chaos.

Burning embers blown from the inferno hit General Skiddy’s Pound Rocks mansion and the Holley House that was the center of the Cos Cob Artist’s Colony, but spectators on the roofs doused them. Fortunately, most of the firebrands from the burning inferno were blown out to sea and the fire eventually burned itself out leaving a twisted wreckage of smokestacks and charred rubble.

Today, Cove Island Park is one of the most peaceful waterfront open spaces and one of Stamford resident’s favorite beaches. Since 2000 the park has been the site of SoundWaters, a nonprofit environmental education organization offering a free small aquarium, a site for school trips and family activities aboard an 80-foot schooner. The Cove Island Park is 84 acres with two sandy beaches, features a mile long loop walking and running trail, a cycling and skating trail, and a children’s playground.

Cove Island Houses located in Cove Island Park are on Stamford, Connecticut’s National Register of Historic Places and are two of Stamford’s best beaches to visit the Long Island Sound.

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Source by Steven Penny

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