by Jane Peterson
was ready to celebrate the 300th Anniversary
of its founding in 1935, World War I was now a memory
and the nation was recovering from the Great Depression.
Throughout the year activities were planned at the state
level and every town held its own events in celebration.
In Branford a committee of over 50 people planned a
variety of events for the two week period from July 17th
from the famous Hartford Charter Oak was planted at the
southwest corner of Center Cemetery on July 17, 1935 in
a brief ceremony featuring the Stony Creek Fife and Drum
Corp. It is not clear whether that seedling survived and
is still growing today. Following the ceremony South
Main Street was closed off and folk dancing was held
with refreshments and fortune telling booths.
exhibits were open during the two week period and
admission was 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for
children. The Academy was set up as an old school room
and children could see what school was like during the
colonial period. In the Community House at the corner of
South Main and Montowese Street was “Story Village”
depicting how Branford might have looked in the early 18th
century. A footpath was lined with the wildflowers that
were abundant in years past. Stationary figures were
posed at work in various occupations of by-gone days. A
hunter’s cabin, colonial kitchen, and tavern entrance
with a large stage coach in front were also featured. No
New England town is complete without its town
“character” and a life size figure of the old Leatherman
was depicted in the village. AN antique and portrait
exhibit was ongoing at the Armory.
of the Branford celebration was the “Parade of Age
Through Branford Town,” a grand pageant that took place
at Hammer Field on Aug.3. The elaborate and ambitious
play, written and directed by Miss A. Lauretta Plumley
of Northford, was presented to an audience of 2,000
people. The acts depicted the founding of Totoket from
its purchase from the Indians to the founding of the
church and early settlement. A huge cast participated
making all the costumes and scenery. Several scenes
included a horse drawn stage coach and oxen drawn wagon.
The presentation was voted the best pageant in the
service complete with costumes and tithing men was held
at the Congregational Church on Aug.4 and other churches
included historical addresses in their services. One of
the greatest contributions of the year was the
publication of Old Branford by John C. Carr and his
committee consisting of Laura Wilford Ayer, Iva Bishop
Baxter, Mable L. Foote, William Russell and Wilson E.
Thompson with maps by Bradley F. Prann. It briefly
explains Branford’s founding, the church, Newark
migration, early life, schools, and shipping. Again
available in a second printing, it remains one of the
few published works on Branford history.