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Coe Park

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Torrington's original town common was in what is now a rural area off Union Drive; no evidence of it remains. Today, Coe Park, located just south of Naugatuck River, functions as the town green. It was given to the city of Torrington in 1906 as a memorial to Lyman Wetmore Coe, president of Coe Brass Company, and his wife Eliza Seymour Coe whose home had been on the property. The donation was made with several stipulations including that (1) a street near the rear of the property be removed, (2) Coe's home be removed and (3) Mrs. Coe's large, Victorian greenhouse be removed. These were unfortunate losses, but it gave the town a green or park at the fringe of the center. Additional parcels were later added to the park until today it covers about five acres.

Coe Park was designed by James W. Scott in 1907 or 1908. Scott is also responsible for Keney Park in Hartford. Percival Gallagher of Olmsted Brothers firm in Boston had been retained by the town selectmen to prepare drawings for the park in 1907. These drawings were completed but not executed even though a number of later town records credit Mr. Gallagher with the design. Shortly after, the park was completed according to Mr. Scott's plan.

A great drama was made of the selection of a boulder upon which to place the memorial plaque for the Coe's. The selected boulder weighed 15 ton and was moved through the center of town to the park on the logging wagon pulled by twenty horses. The Civil War monument was originally erected in front of town hall in 1879 and was moved to Coe Park in 1936. Park Center was built in 1975 on the park to provide a civic meeting center and offices for the town recreation department. A monumental stone sculpture fountain designed by Massachusett's artist Edward Monti was erected in the park in 1981 and dedicated to all Veterans of the Vietnam war era. A plan for revitalization of the park was proposed in 1983 (with the misinformation that the Olmsted Brothers had originally designed the park); portions of that plan have been executed.

Coe Memorial Park, located on the previous site of a grand Victorian home, was created in the early nineteenth century as a park. It has, however, over the years, taken on the roll of a New England town green for those who live in Torrington. It serves a commemorative function as well as providing as gathering place in the heart of the town to celebrate holidays and other events, as well as offering a welcome refuge in an otherwise densely developed area.



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