Cove Island Park, 1281 Cove Road, Stamford, CT 06902
From the north of Stamford: I-95 South to exit 9. At the top of the exit ramp, turn left onto Boston Post Road (Route 1). Turn right at next stoplight, Seaside Ave. At the "T" intersection, turn left onto Cove Road. The entrance to Cove Island Park, and parking, will be just ahead of the next stop sign. The SoundWaters Center for Environmental Education is located across the foot bridges, to the left, a short walk past the barn.
From the south of Stamford: I-95 North to exit 9. At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Seaside Avenue. At the "T" intersection, turn left onto Cove Road. The entrance to Cove Island Park, and parking, will be just ahead of the next stop sign. The SoundWaters Center for Environmental Education is located across the foot bridges, to the left, a short walk past the barn.
Parking is Free but please note: From Memorial Day to Labor Day, parking at Cove Island is reserved for Stamford residents with a valid parking pass. During summer months, SoundWaters visitors not residing in Stamford MUST pre-register for programs to obtain a parking pass. Without a pass, parking tickets will be issued by Stamford Police.
History of Cove Island:
Cove Island has a recorded history going back over three hundred years.
Prior to the 1800's – the island was not an island, but a peninsula, connected by a narrow strip of land. The island was known as "Eastfield Pound" and was used to confine stray animals.
1790's – industrial development began to change the face of the area. John Holly and William Fitch built a tidal dam across the narrow channel between the pound and Brush Island, and a grist mill, for making flour, was built on the western side of this dam. When the tide was rising, the gates of this dam were left open to fill the pond with water. As the tide ebbed, the gates were closed and the falling water powered the mill.
1800s – industrial activity reached its peak. The strip of land connecting the pound to Eastfield was cut through to provide power for a second mill, built on the western side of the island. A relic of this period is the Mansion House, built by John Holly (d. 1838). Holly lived in the mansion until his death. This house is now home to SoundWaters. The Holly House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1837 – the mills and surrounding land was leased to Henry J. Sanford, a manufacturer of clothing dyes and drugs.
By 1844 – Sanford founded The Stamford Manufacturing Company. This prosperous business had materials contracts the world over, and owned land in Mexico and Virginia. The company expanded rapidly and grew to encompass a large complex of docks, warehouses, boilers, tool shops and lodgings for the 300 workers that were employed at the mills. Only one of these brick buildings survives and is located just over the bridges from the parking lot.
By the turn of the century – science had developed inexpensive dyes, made from coal tar, and much of the company's European market dried up. World War I placed an additional strain by making the shipping and receiving of goods nearly impossible.
1917 – the company was reorganized, but production never reached its former levels.
1919 – a disastrous fire ripped through the complex, gutting the entire works and effectively ending production at the Cove.
1952 – the land was acquired by the Connecticut Light and Power Company with the intention of building a coal powered generating plant. Public outcry over the plan was such that the city took the power company to court, blocking the proposed facility. This plant was eventually built in Norwalk.
1955 – the city acquired the island and adjacent property. Proposals for the island included using the land as a parking lot and amusement park complex. City planners decided to keep the island's natural beauty intact and created the coastal park that is enjoyed by many today.
The SoundWaters Community Center for Environmental Education offers a wide variety of courses, seminars, and activities for organizations, schools, and corporations. History, music, ecumenical Celebrate the Earth services, and environmental education are a few of the many categories of programs offered in this catalog.
History/Community Room -- this room will feature exhibits and displays, a History Tile Wall, and a tabletop Cove Island Historic Display.
Environmental Business Room -- here regional and international companies can display any positive environmental changes they have made or will be making in their company and their products. The two story room contains aquaria, a living salt marsh, touch tank, and interactive watershed displays and exhibits.
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