Former Guilford farm now sports official name

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 5:56 AM EDT
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — More than five years after buying the nine-acre Woodruff property, the Board of Selectmen Monday chose an official name for the land: Rollwood Park.

The change honors former Gov. Rollin S. Woodruff, who operated Rollwood Farm as a summer and retirement home in the early-20th century.

First Selectman Carl Balestracci said the name reflects the historical character of the property and its function as town-owned open space.

“Just to keep calling it the Woodruff Farm property, that’s not even the correct name for it — it was the Rollwood Farm, and then all the years I was growing up we knew it as Hunter’s Farm” for the owner at that time, Balestracci said. “We thought it was important to give it an official name and that it become a park instead of a farm because that’s what it’s going to be for future generations.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, Balestracci said, the Board of Selectmen decided that any road built on the property would be called Hunter Lane, after Floyd and Florence Hunter, who owned the farm from 1944 to 1966. One plan for the park includes a road to provide a second access to the land from Stone House Lane.

“We thought it would also be historically accurate and kind of nice to name any kind of lane like that Hunter Lane because they did farm the property,” Balestracci said. “They were the last ones who had a dairy farm there.”

The town bought the property, near Old Whitfield Street and across from the Henry Whitfield State Museum, in 2003 for $880,000. Woodruff’s historic house was destroyed by fire in 2000, but the parcel includes two barns that the Guilford Center for Children wants to convert into a day-care center.

Balestracci said the town plans to make the area suitable for some of the functions that now take place on the Green and to add rest rooms.

Right now, officials are working with the Guilford Center for Children to clean up the area for construction of the center.

“We’ll begin to see a transformation from what it is today into a much nicer-looking park area,” Balestracci said.

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