Land-use maps

Killingly present

Killingly past

Maps and images

A Woodland trail

The miles of stone walls in Southern New England are a hint that much of the land was once cleared after the European settlers began arriving in the early 1600s. The fertile valleys were cleared for corn and hay, and the lower slopes were used for pasture for cows and sheep. Anything that was left over was cleared for construction lumber or firewood. However, in the last 100 years most of the farmland has been abandoned and much of New England has reverted to forest.

That era is now coming to an end. Aerial imaging data from the University of Connecticut reveals that much of Connecticut's rural landscape has been lost to sprawl and residential development in recent years. Communities in the state are losing open space and agricultural land at an alarming rate.

The Five Mile River

Today the Five Mile River runs serenely through Killingly. It's beauty offers little hint that it once helped power the industrial revolution in Killingly.

Beaver Dam

A beaver dam sits below a flooded field. The numerous wetlands in Killingly offer sanctuary for a variety of mammals like beaver and otter. They also provide habitat for fish, ducks, herons, turtles, frogs, snakes, and salamanders.

Wetlands

A typical wetland in Killingly. Wetlands are vitally important to the environment. They supply a variety of habitats for plants and help maintain the quality of our drinking water. Water is everywhere in Killingly. Water is a valuable resource that the Conservation Commission works to protect.

Farming in Killingly

Farming has always been hard in Northeastern Connecticut. Many farms were abandoned in the 19th century as farmers moved west to more productive soils. A few working farms remain in Killingly raising livestock and growing crops. Agriculture today includes diverse activities such as operating stables, raising llamas, and growing greenhouse crops. Flat and cleared farmland is an easy target for development. Agricultural easements provide some tax breaks for farmers who promise to keep their land in farming. You can do your part by supporting local farm stands and the weekly Farmer's Market.

Many more old photographs can be found in the Killingly book by Natalie Coolidge and Robert Spencer from the Images of America series published by Arcadia. The book is available from the Killingly Historical Society library and museum on Main Street (open Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10-4).