by Hans DePold, town historian
(Published in the Bolton Community News, June 2009)
The land that is now Herrick Park has a lot of history and a lot of beauty. It was for many years part of Charles and Adelia Loomis's farm. According to Elna Dimock, Adelia was well known in town. Her house (now known as the Jared Cone house) was used as a candy store and as one of several post offices in town. The mail was dropped off at the Notch railroad station. People were too busy to walk to the Notch and the distance between homes was too great for home delivery. It made more sense to have the mail picked up in the Notch and delivered to several convenient spots that Bolton folks could walk to. And if you had to walk to the post office, why not pick up some candy or nonperishable groceries at the same time?
Adelia was often seen on her horse-drawn surrey. She loved the town and volunteered to run Bolton's first library. The library was small but it had so many books that people had to walk sideways through the aisles. Adelia, being thin, had no problem at all. Books were donated, and it was a labor of love to share the books with townspeople.
Eventually, Adelia needed a smaller place so she sold the farm to Edson and Helen Herrick. Ed was an accountant and worked in Hartford. They came to Bolton because they thought it would be a wonderful place for children to grow up. The Herricks loved the land and the friendly people of Bolton. Most people thought the Herricks had an easy life and no problems. They lived well but unfortunately were not blessed with any children of their own. Their farm became a gift to the town.
At a town meeting on July 19, 1965, the town of Bolton voted to accept the deed for the land from Helen Herrick for a price of $500 and to call the property Herrick Memorial Park.
In 1970, at a time when Pratt & Whitney was announcing the first layoffs they had ever had, Bolton decided to establish the park and build a lodge. Ray Soma was Park Commission chairman at the time. To save money, he suggested the Bolton Building Commission contract with shop instructor Mario Fava, from Howell Cheney Tech School, and architect Mr. Lienhard for the carpentry work. The cost for the 30-foot by 60-foot lodge was $1,800.
Ray Soma, John Haugh, Dan Ratazzi, Bob Morra and others cleared the 10-foot wide path for the road to the building site for a total cost of $650. Andrew Ansaldi dug the foundation for his cost of $250. Francis Fiano graded the park field. Alan Wiedie drew up the final architectural plans. Edwin Songailo built the beautiful fieldstone fireplace for the lodge for $1,520.
By the summer of 1971, Howell Cheney Tech students had finished closing in the lodge. Jim Howard did the electrical work and Cal Hutchinson made all the inspections. There were other expenses as well, but thanks to the generosity of some Bolton residents, in about two years Bolton had a beautiful park for minimal cost. They call such work a labor of love.
Herrick Memorial Park poses the question, "Do we love it because it is beautiful or is it beautiful because Bolton has put so much love into it?" When times are tough and money is tight, Bolton folk volunteer and give from their hearts when their pocketbooks are almost empty.