Wolcott Historical Society News - June 2021
By Florence Goodman
In last month's article, I briefly discussed Chase Country Club, but I'd like to add more information that I recently acquired. The Chase Manufacturing Company of Waterbury built this beautiful nine-hole golf course for their employees. It was located on the grounds of the old Nathaniel Lewis farm and was a popular gathering place in the 1930s through the 1960s. It consisted of a restaurant plus a picnic and outing area to the rear of the parking lot next to the clubhouse. In about 1975, under Mayor Lango's administration the residents of Wolcott voted to purchase the property. Through the help of a grant the town was able to and continued to update the restaurant and clubhouse until they were able to build a new structure. In 1993 under Mayor Wilensky's administration the structures were taken down. The Wolcott Fire Department as part of their fire-training program razed the old structures on February 21st of that same year. The photos that I have used were taken by Leonard Browne and donated to the Historical Society by Ray Teach. Sometime later the new structure was built. Today many residents from our town and surrounding areas enjoy golfing at this 9-hole public golf course. I also interviewed Louis Polzella Sr. about the golf course. During the phone interview he shared an interesting story reminding me that part of the property of the golf course is in Southington. If you are on the fourth tee on the top of the hill you would be standing in New Haven County, but the ball will end up in Hartford County. The upper part of the course is located in Wolcott, while the lower section is located in Southington. Our town actually pays taxes to Southington for the property we own in that town. We are fortunate that our forefathers had enough foresight to purchase this beautiful piece of property when they did; for those who do not golf you can still enjoy the view while enjoying a bite to eat at East Street Eatery.
On the corner of East Street and Central Avenue John Samuelson's old white farmhouse still stands and beyond his house is the red cow barn where Joan Polowitzer lives. In the 1920s Mr. Samuelson subdivided and developed a 24-acre tract of land in this area. Next to the red barn is Fire Company #1, which I mentioned last month. Continuing past the Fire Company you would have found Pendy's Restaurant; this was located on the corner of Equinox and Central Avenue. It was an early restaurant, which was quite popular. A specialty item on the menu was frog legs, caught by local youths around the lake. Later Jim McCarthy and Jack Schmidt purchased this restaurant property and renamed it Long Acre Inn. Jimmy owned a package store near Walsh's Market and Jack was a salesman. As you continued down Central Avenue between the lakes you would approach a street named College Place. It was said that this area had many cottages that were owned by a doctor who leased them to Yale students (hence, its name). In 1932 there was another grocery store, which also sold liquor in this area. Joan Platen's grandmother owned it. Joan Polowitzer who gave me the photo of the store was not sure of the owner's name or the exact location of the store.
Further down the road you come to Midwood Avenue. As you drive toward the end of Midwood Avenue you will find the Whip Poor Will Club. It started out around 1922 in a tent as a local clubhouse for lake area residents. It grew into a permanent structure and was enjoyed by many residents for stags, showers and weddings. I'm not sure if it still functions as a private club today.
I'm sure there are more interesting stories and histories associated with the Hitchcock Lake area that still remain untold. I am always looking to update my records so if you would like to share information that you might have, please feel free to contact me at 203-879-9818. I'd love to hear from you. It can be about any part of Wolcott, not just the Hitchcock Lake area.
(Rich Plantier, Joan Polowitzer, Ray Teach and Louis Pozella Sr. provided information for this article; 1986 Historic Resources Inventory by J.P. Loether Associates; Wolcott Connecticut 175th Anniversary 1796-1971 by John Washburne; photos of Chase Country Club burning by Leonard Browne.)
The old Chase Country Club Restaurant on East Street.
Side view of the old Chase Country Club Restaurant and green.
Firemen razing the old Chase Clubhouse on February 21, 1993.
The razing of the old Chase Country Club restaurant on February 21, 1993.
Joan Planten's grandmother's grocery and liquor store was located on Central Avenue in 1932.
The old Whip Poor Will Club on Midwood Avenue.
An old post card showing Hitchcock Lake.
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