Brook runs through it: Wojan’s Woods
By Dorian Olivera, Associate Director WHLT
In late December 2020, papers were signed on a unique piece of land largely hidden from public view.
Save for a handful of modest trails that meander through the property, it remains close to its natural state. Documented as 142 Davenport Road, the 2.75-acre parcel is located just south of Wolcott School and is accessible from where Davenport Road ends as a short extension off Wolcott Road, and on the opposite end where Davenport Road reconnects to Red Top Drive.
Neighbors on all sides, most unfamiliar with its history, have benefited from its unrestricted yet close proximity. Given the relatively small amount of undeveloped land in West Hartford, parcels such as this one, in the midst of a thriving neighborhood, are rare.
We can trace the recent history of this land to Bernard C. Wojan (1917-2012), a son of German immigrants who settled in Meriden, CT. He worked for Pratt & Whitney during WWII, although his primary career was as an educator and guidance counselor.
He also saw the value of land and acquired the 12 acres subdivided into what is now Barton Street and Chestnut Lane, which contains the 142 Davenport Road parcel, affectionately known as “Wojan’s Woods.” In 1951 Bernard married the love of his life, Ruth M. Steenburgh (1917-1983), a great-great granddaughter of the American Revolution.
For a time they lived in a home behind the Quaker Meetinghouse located on S. Quaker Lane and later moved to Red Top Drive. Ultimately Bernard moved back to his childhood home in Meriden, where he died at age 95.
The West Hartford Land Trust is sincerely grateful to the Wojan-Steenburgh family for their foresight and generosity in protecting Wojan’s Woods over the years and in donating it so that it can be enjoyed by the residents of West Hartford now and in the future. Under the stewardship of the Land Trust, Wojan’s Woods will have an added layer of protection from development, providing a small oasis for plants and wildlife, as well as the West Hartford community.
Later this spring an informal dedication will be made at the property by request of the surviving family to honor the memory of their mother and father, Bernard and Ruth.
The West Hartford Land Trust was established in 2002 and currently oversees seven parcels in West Hartford. Our mission is important, to focus on the preservation and protection of open space and natural resources in West Hartford. The Land Trust is independent from town services and financial backing. We rely solely on volunteers and the generosity of others. Through ongoing public giving we can continue to build and set aside opportunities for residents to enjoy and appreciate even more open space within the natural beauty of our Town. Consider becoming a sustaining member and kindly visit us online to learn more. Better together.
Contact: [email protected]
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.