Mountain laurel in bloom

Mountain laurel in bloom
Mountain laurel is in bloom at West Rock, as seen on the Gold Trail.

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West Rock Historic Postcards

This page contains a series of historic postcards for West Rock, dating from the early 1900s to the 1950s. If available, a picture of the same location is shown in a modern picture.

In the caption under the postcard, I include the information listed on the postcard (when available) that may include the company that printed it, the date it was printed (or the photo was taken), and a description of the photo. I also include a postmark date if the postcard was sent. The postmark date may not be close to the date the photo was taken, since the same photo could have been used for a long period of time, or someone may have kept the postcard for a long period of time.
About half these postcards were blank and unused. I did not bother including any message written on the back because they were typically personal messages along the lines of "I'll see you when I get back home."
If you are looking to purchase your own postcards of West Rock, I recommend using eBay. The prices are lower than on websites dedicated to selling postcards. Most of these cards here cost $6 or less with shipping. There are other post cards that sold for $10 to $15 with shipping, but I am not THAT interested in these historic views. Search for "West Rock Park, New Haven" and "Judges Cave."


West Rock viewed from Westville (Amrhyn Field)

Souvenir Post Card Co., New York and Berlin
Photo, only, copyright 1905 by the Rotograph Co., N.Y. City.
Postmarked Aug. 31, 1910.

Printed by the Harold Hahn Co. New Haven, Conn. Labeled as a Genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. Art-Colortone” Post Card. Postmarked Aug. 17, 1920.
Rear caption: "West Rock, a trap rock cliff 400 feet high, flanks the city of New Haven on the northwest. The summit, accessible by a beautiful drive, affords an extensive view of the city, its many world-famous industries, and Long Island Sound. The famous Baldwin Parkway extends along West Rock Ridge for six miles."

There are women sitting in the field in the foreground.
The back simply reads, "Famous Superior Quality Throughout the World".

The view of West Rock in fall 2014. As compared to the postcards, the trees are much taller and there is a building and fencing related to the field.
No. 606, Pub. By Danziger and Berman, New Haven, Conn.
Note on back dated Feb. 15, 1912.


West Rock viewed from the West River
A view of West Rock from the West River.
Published by The Hugh C. Leighton Co., Manufacturers, Portland, ME U.S.A.
Made in Germany. 

Publ. by the Edw. P. Judd Co., New Haven, Conn. No. 908. Made in Germany.
Postmarked June 20, 1913.

Pub. By the E.P. Judd Co., New Haven, Conn. No. 1490 Made in Germany.

The West Rock Tunnel (now Heroes Tunnel)
and the Wilbur Cross Pkwy.

Published by Natural Color Cards, Bridgeport, Conn.
Made by Dexter Press, Inc., West Nyack, N.Y. Ektachrome by Jack Taylor.
Rear caption: "Connecticut’s West Rock Tunnel, the costliest of the 68 Wilbur Cross Parkway projects, is the state’s first vehicular tunnel. Consisting of twin bores 1200 feet in length, it carries divided traffic lane through West Rock, New Haven, about 200 feet below the summit of the ridge. Work on the $2,000,000 project was started in March 1948. The facility was opened to traffic on November 1, 1949."



The Wilbur Cross Parkway in March 2015 shows significant changes from the historic postcard. The trees are much taller, there is a center guardrail, the road is asphalt (not concrete), there is a sign for Exit 59, and the ridge has two antennas. Shopping centers (hidden by the trees) have replaced the farms. The Pond Lily Factory (with smokestack to the right of the parkway in the postcard) has been demolished.

The top part of the photo is taken from the Hartford Turnpike bridge looking north at the Exit 63 interchange and the bridge carrying Route 22 (Bishop Street) over the parkway. Note the lack of a center guardrail and the relative lack of trees. Lusterchrome. Made only by Tichnor Bros. Inc., Boston, Mass. This postcard has the same caption on back as the first tunnel postcard in this section.
 
The view of the Wilbur Cross Parkway from the Hartford Turnpike bridge looking north at the Exit 63 interchange in June 2016. The angle is slightly different and the view is not as wide, but changes include the addition of a guardrail, the exit sign, and the trees are much taller.


Ektachrome by Bill Furcht. Published By NATCO. Natural Color Cards Co, Ridgefield Park, N.J. Made by Dexter, West Nyack, N.Y. This postcard has the same caption on back as the first tunnel postcard in this section.

Dense growth of trees and shrubs surrounds the tunnel in July 2014, while an unsightly, but important guardrail divides the highway, and a green sign indicates the name "Heroes Tunnel".

Judges Cave
These postcards of Judges Cave are all taken from the right when standing in front of the current plaque on the cave. The current view is partially obscured by a cedar tree. The cave had a fence around it in the early 1900s. When I learn when the fence was installed and later removed, I will include that information.

This postcard includes the printer name "SL and Co." on the back. The cave shows a plaque on the right side of the cave.
Printed by A.D. Cozzolino, New Haven. Postmarked Nov. 1, 1953. Rear caption: "The Judges’ Cave: After signing the death warrant of Charles I of England, the regicides, Whalley and Goffe, took refuge here."


A view of Judges Cave in March 2015 with the view partially obscured by trees.

Published by The Union News Co.
Genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. Art-Colortone” Post Card
Rear caption:  Judges Cave, West Rock Park: Judges Cave on the summit of West Rock, accessible by the park drive, is a jumble of rocks split through glacial action, where Col. Edward Whalley and Col. William Goffe, two of the judges who had condemned Charles I, found refuge in 1661 from the King’s soldiers.
Pub. By the Harold Hahn Co. Inc., New Haven, Conn.
Caption: "
According to local history the mass of rocks on West Rock was the hiding place of Dixwell, Goffe and Whalley, three judges who condemned Charles the First to death and fled to escape the wrath of his son Charles II. They sought refuge in what is now known as Judges’ Cave. After several narrow escapes from the King’s soldiers, they became leaders of the community."
Correction to the caption: Dixwell never stayed at the cave. All three stayed as hidden as they could for the rest of their lives, hardly becoming leaders of the community.
Published by Morris Berman, New Haven, Conn.
The back of this card simply reads: "Printed in Germany."
Note that this is the only postcard view of Judges Cave shown on this page where there is NO fence.

Baldwin Drive (aka Baldwin Parkway)

Published By the Harold Hahn Co. Inc., New Haven, Conn.
This view shows two water company reservoirs, as viewed from Baldwin Drive, Glen Lake (top), on the west side of Route 69 to the north of Dillon Road, while the foreground shows Lake Dawson on the east side of Route 69. The caption is slightly incorrect since the view is from Hamden, not New Haven.
In this view from the paved overlook on the west side of Baldwin Drive in early May 2016, Glen Lake is visible as a narrow slit, while Lake Dawson is heavily screened by the trees.
By the end of May 2016, both Glen Lake and Lake Dawson are completed screened by trees, despite the fact that state workers cut the black birch trees adjacent to the overlook off Baldwin Drive in 2015.

West Rock Park,

(now the West Rock Nature Center)

Rotograph Co., N.Y. City
1905, Published by The Rotograph Co., N.Y. City
Published by The Rotograph Co., N.Y. City (Germany)   

Wintergreen Falls at West Rock Park,

(now the West Rock Nature Center)

Published by the A.L. Schneider Company, New Haven, Conn.
Wintergreen Falls were mostly frozen in Feb. 2015.
Wintergreen Falls quickly thawed by March 2015.
For additional postcard views, check out these postcard sites. These were direct links to West Rock postcards. If the direct link does not work, use the main link and search from there. These sites are more expensive than what I typically saw on eBay, but you can look for free!
  • Whitlock's Book Barn, 20 Sperry Road, Bethany, also sells postcards and may have some West Rock postcards at reasonable prices. I purchased the third Judges Cave postcard displayed here for $3 in March 2015. At the time, the store only had four more West Rock postcards. The book barn sells used books and carries a variety of local history books. Of course, the stock will vary over time. Whitlock's is well worth a visit after a hike at West Rock. Check the website for hours, as the store is not open every weekday. Website: http://www.whitlocksbookbarn.com/shop/default.asp. Directions: Rt. 15 to Exit 59. Take Rt. 69 North for 4 miles. Left on Morris Road (look for the Whitlock's sign) and go 0.5 miles. Turn right on Sperry Road at the T-int. and turn IMMEDIATELY right by the white fence into Whitlocks. There are two barns on the property. The lower barn is the main location and where the cashier is located.

2 comments:

  1. Great postcards I will be sharing with Woodbridge friends.

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