History of Kent, CT - Kent Village




Submitted by Fran Johnson

The scenery along the route from Bulls bridge to Kent is pleasing. A fine view can be obtained of Scatacook mountain, rising a short distance west of the stream.

Along this route are the homes of John Newton, a well-to-do farmer, Edward Gregory and Charles Lee. Mr. Gregory is a bold companion of Geo. Coggswell, the noted snake hunter, whose home stands opposite Mr. Gregory's on the west side of the river. The two men have often visited Rattlesnake Den and together have fearlessly slaughtered many of the venomous reptiles.

Charles Lee is a jovial farmer, a Democrat in politics, who represented Kent in the House of Representatives in 1893. It is said that the late Charles Edwards, once delivered a lecture in schoolhouses in Kent and vicinity, asking a small price for admission and using the funds thus obtained for the benefit of a needy neighbor. The lecture was full of local hits and abounded in humor. In it full explanation was given to the nicknames, "Leather Wheels" "Old Hail Cut," etc., to which reference has been made in a previous article.

The lecture gained such celebrity that is was finally decided to print it in pamphlet form. It is thought that a few copies of this pamphlet are still extant.


The long main street of Kent center is one of those attractive thoroughfares that can be found in the old settled towns of New England. It is shaded the greater part of the way on each side by a row of flourishing trees, mostly maples, and both they and the few elms among them are free from beetles and other destroying insects, a fact upon which the people of Kent should greatly congratulate themselves at a time when pestiferous bugs are sapping the life of hundreds of arboreal monarchs in many parts of the state. A number of large, fine residences, set amid ample, beautifully shaded grounds, line the Main street, among these residences being those of Mrs. M. L. Stuart, John and George Hopson, Luther Eaton, Mrs. Haxtun, Mrs. Ingersoll, Mrs. Catherine Fuller and C. H. Gaylord. And there are a score of other homes in the vicinity which, if not so imposing, are models of comfort and attractiveness.

The street is provided with a private sewer for the use of residents who contributed liberally toward its support, and this sewer, throughout its length, can be easily and thoroughly flushed by water from the reservoir of the Kent Water Company. The sewer has an outlet in the Housatonic river. The sewer is an improvement not often found in a village no larger than Kent. The public water is furnished to the residents of the entire village and it, as well as the sewer, demonstrates Kent's claim to a progressiveness not common in a place of its size.

To drive to the reservoir the road around the Cobble eastward is taken, the latter being a long wooded elevation that stretches east of the village and continues a considerable distance northward.

On this road is located Luther Eaton's farm and tobacco warehouse, which for many years was used extensively in raising and packing tobacco, and further on is the old Swift place. The present house upon it is only about fifteen years old, but it is the successor of one of Kent's oldest and best known houses, the age of the departed structure being about 150 years.

The pipe from the reservoir to the village extends under one side of this road, and is fed by a pipe from Page's Spring. This spring is on a wood height forty feet above the level of the reservoir, and during the greater part of the year furnishes the village with sufficient water of the purest quality without recourse to the larger source of supply.

A mile and one half from the village, on the east side of the Cobble, is the well constructed reservoir, which was built under the superintendence of Frank Leonard of South Norwalk in 1881, at a cost of $16,000. The capitol stock of the company represents $15,000, and, although moderate, even insufficient dividends are earned, principally because there are not enough water takers in the village to furnish a good revenue at such rents as can be feasibly asked and paid, the public spirit which prompted the undertaking has been amply justified. Besides the diminution of labor and the great convenience to householders afforded by the public water, it has been the means of saving the village from a serious destruction of property. The company furnishes a hose cart and lengths of hose free of charge and hydrants for the attachment of hose, and the value of these appliances has three times been effectually demonstrated. A few years ago a barn at the upper end of the village caught fire and the flames would have burned an adjacent costly house and perhaps other dwellings, had not the use of the fire apparatus conquered the danger. The safeguards were equally useful in overcoming two other fires, one in a small cigar shop and another in the railroad station. At least $25,000 worth of property has thus been saved from destruction.

The reservoir covers two acres and has a capacity of 3,000,000 gallons. Its altitude above the village is 168 feet. A substantial dam holds the water back and suitable stone work, where needed, makes firm the remaining sides of the receptacle. The reservoir is fed by water from unfailing springs within in and by water brought to it through a six inch pipe from Mill brook. There is a suitable outlet for the overflow of water, which runs into a riverlet below the reservoir. So particular have the oficers of the company been to prevent contamination that a neighboring farmer, the drainage from whose barnyard threatened to percolate through the ground toward the reservoir, was paid a proper sum of money to erect a wall or embankment which caused the drainage to flow in the opposite direction.

Through the narrow valley which extends far northward of the reservoir between ranges of wooded hills, and abounds in picturesque scenery, lies what is known as Flanders, an ancient settlement.

Copied from "History of Kent, Connecticut" by Francis Atwater 1897

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