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Let us return to earlier times to trace the story of this site, which is long and fascinating...

The beginning of a great city
Before the advent of urbanization, the body of water we know as Yellow Mill Pond extended north of the present railroad tracks and drained an extensive salt marsh that went north as far as Boston Avenue.  The shores of this salt creek were apparently of spiritual significance to Native Americans, as it was the location of a great medicine wheel — a veritable American Stonehenge -- built along its banks. This ceremonial center consisted of rounded granite posts a foot in diameter and about seven feet in height, arranged in concentric circles. It remained intact until 1846, when the New York and New Haven Railroad plotted their trackline exactly through where the Indian megalith stood.  "We dug out loads and loads of these posts and threw them into the mill pond with brush and limbs and heaped dirt upon them," recalled one of the construction laborers in Orcutt's 1884 History of Stratford.  A Mr. Tuttle of Stratford Center heard about the mysterious relics being disposed of and had one of the posts hauled to his front yard and set up as a curiosity.  It remains there to this day, its origin unknown to all but a few, in front of 753 Stratford Avenue.
In the Algonkian language the word "pan" denotes a waterfall.  At a place where the fresh waters of Stillman's Brook rushed over a precipice to the salt estuary below lived into historic times a band of Indians known as the Pan tribe, the "people of the waterfall."  This spot, at 2 1/2 miles distance the closest water power to the colonial village of Stratford, was coveted soon after settlement as a gristmill location.  And so by 1650 a mill here was grinding the town's corn and other grain, and the "Pan Brook" recorded in early deeds was soon anglicized to Pembroke.  This was the "old mill" the Green was named for.
A village began to coalesce in this vicinity by the onset of the 18th century.  Remarkably, a shipyard making ocean-going vessels was located halfway up Boston Avenue hill (near Bell Street) at the time of the Revolutionary War, when General George Washington himself was given a tour.  The boats were skidded down to Old Mill Creek on winter snows, and when ice broke in the early spring they were maneuvered out to the harbor.
By the beginning of the 19th century the Puritan view of the world was being supplanted by the romantic, and the beauty of this locality was being realized by artists and writers.  "There is not in the state a prettier village than the borough of Bridgeport," wrote Rev. Timothy Dwight, President of Yale College, in his Travels in New England of 1821. "The situation of this village is very handsome, particularly on the eastern side of the river. A more beautiful and elegant piece of ground can scarcely be imagined than the point which stretches between the Pequonnock and Old Mill Brook, and the prospects presented by the harbors at the mouths of these streams, the Sound, and the surrounding country are, in fine season, gay and brilliant and, perhaps, without parallel."


Remington Woods, Bridgeport/Stratford, CT USA