Shirer Tract

Property Information

The Shirer Tract

The Shirer tract is a 20-acre piece of land located east of Stillwater Pond Road. It runs along the road beginning just above the swamp and ends a few hundred feet before the intersection with Mountain Road. The site contains brooks, woodland, a stone wall, and part of a 15-acre swamp. 

In the southern part of the property is a dramatic outcropping of ledge around which glaciers deposited many large boulders, one on top of another, and which undoubtedly makes desirable habitat for wildlife.

Memories from Daughter, Linda Shirer Rae

The following was kindly written by Linda Shirer Rae, daughter of William L. and Teresa Shirer, August 2023.

My mother loved our Torrington “farm” as it had been before we purchased it in 1947. Though raised in a city (Vienna, Austria), she had a strong feeling for nature, and loved the fields, woods, ponds, and brooks in the land surrounding our house. There was a particular old apple tree near the house that she especially loved, and as an artist made many charcoal drawings of its ancient, twisted branches. When one day my father pruned one of these branches in a misbegotten drive to increase our apple crop, she was quite heartbroken (but still found much left to draw).

One of the favorite pastimes that my mother spearheaded in our family was to clear trails on the old wagon roads that crisscrossed our property. She managed to make this project seem to my sister and me as children and even adolescents as a thrilling project, and we trimmed and dragged branches away happily until we had some nice trails to walk. Until beavers got to work on a pond that we had at the very back of our property, my mother loved to organize picnics where the brook trickled into the pond.

My mother also loved flowers and created beautiful borders at the edges of the lawns and by the stone walls. From early spring until fall, there was a riot of bloom, from daylilies of all kinds, pink phlox, purple irises, daisies of every variety, red beebalm, blue delphinium (the woodchuck’s favorite, much to my mother’s anguish) and much more. In the fields below the house, near her apple tree, she planted hundreds of daffodils, and crocuses as well.

In her art studio off beyond the farthest field and the red currant patch that she transformed into a wonderful jam every summer, she spent many hours painting in oil. She had studied for many years at the Art Students’ League in New York City, and her painting was a combination of figurative and abstract. The beauty of the Torrington landscape inspired her for many years.

The Ring Trail

The Boy Scouts established a nice path in the 1980s, called the “Ring Trail”.  Bridges, of a sort, were made out of logs, a rustic table was made near the swamp, identification signs were placed on trees telling what species they were, and signs were made honoring many of the original trustees of HLPT.  Sadly the trail itself is in some disrepair today and needs some work.

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