Historical Documents

Historical Documents

This page contains links to historical documents relating to the formation and operation of Gateway in the early decades.


CT Woodlands Newsletter, Summer, 1973
An interesting newsletter which illustrates the state of forestry and conservation in Connecticut in the early 1970s.  Of Gateway interest is an open letter entitled “Preserving the Connecticut” by one of the original Gateway “architects”, William G. Moore.  Bill Moore was the first Chairman of the Gateway Commission and, along with Senator and later Lieutenant Governor Peter Cashman (both Lyme residents), two of the most important figures in bringing the Gateway “compact” into existence.  The article, found on page 12, was written after all of the local public hearings on joining the compact were held, but before actual town meeting votes occurred.  Only five of the eight prospective member towns needed to vote “yes” to form the Commission, but all eight enthusiastically joined.  The sentiment was that each of the towns wanted the help and backup of the Gateway Commission to help them preserve their riverfront.  As a note, the Town of Old Saybrook was the fifth to vote in, guaranteeing the transformation of the Gateway “Committee” to the Gateway “Commission”.

Settlement Agreement, July 1, 1981
This document is the settlement agreement between Connecticut Light & Power and the Hartford Electric Light Company on one hand, and numerous parties on the other which had fought the installation of three different power lines extending from the east side of the river to the west side.  The fifteen year fight was based in large part on the visual damage that the overhead lines caused to the river valley.  As a result of the settlement, the Connecticut River Gateway Commission was awarded a $1 million endowment that has funded the Commission’s operation for the past 35 years.

Northeast Utilities Settlement Letter, April 12, 1982

In this letter from attorneys from Carmody and Torrance, Northeast Utilities informed the Gateway Commission that a check in the amount of $1 million was being delivered as a part of an ongoing settlement for the construction of power lines over the Connecticut River between Haddam and East Haddam. The “gift” was presented with the condition that the principal and any accrued interest be used to fulfill the purposes of the State Statutes governing the operation of the Gateway Commission.

New England Heritage: The Connecticut River National Recreation Area Study, June 1968
A booklet published by the U.S. Department of the Interior supporting the effort to establish a National Park in four separate “units” between Canada and Long Island Sound, a distance of 410 miles.

Gateway Unit Plan for the Proposed Connecticut Historic River
This document was written by the predecessor of the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, the Connecticut River Gateway Committee. Its was the committees job to assess the federal legislation and make recommendations to establish the local conservation program to be overseen by the Gateway Commission. This document provides the overview of the “Gateway Unit” of the federal proposal. This publication outlines the concerns about the precarious division in the original federal legislation between preservation and recreation.

Original Federal Legislation to “Preserve and Promote the Resources of the Connecticut River Valley”
The legislation, proposed by Senators Abe Ribicoff (CT) and Ted Kennedy (MA), and Representatives Robert Steele (CT) and Silvio O. Conte (MA), was intended to establish a hybrid National Park that combined conservation with active tourism, to some, incompatible goals. Much of the conservation language in this bill was ultimately used to draft the language that eventually became the State Legislation which formed the Connecticut River Gateway Commission and the Gateway Conservation Zone.

Meeting Comments Regarding National Park Proposal by Lyme Resident
Many meetings were held to discuss the Federal Government’s proposal to establish a National Park in the Connecticut River. This letter, just one of many, was provided by a Lyme resident by the name of Robert Fiske in August of 1972. The comments are a very succinct description of the overall concerns held by many lower river valley residents.

CT River National Recreation Area Feasibility Study, Report 1. US Dept. of the Interior, 1967
First of two Interior feasibility “study” reports regarding what would become a proposal to establish a National Park in four units along the length of the Connecticut River from Canada to Long Island Sound.

CT River National Recreation Area Feasibility Study, Report 2. US Dept. of the Interior, 1967
Second of two Interior feasibility “study” reports regarding what would become a proposal to establish a National Park in four units along the length of the Connecticut River from Canada to Long Island Sound.

Map of Original “Gateway Unit”
Map of the “Gateway Unit” portion of the National Park proposal. Today’s Gateway Conservation Zone as established in State Statute extends to the mouth of the Connecticut River where the federal proposal only went as far south as the I-95 bridge.

Article, Connecticut River Compact, 1975. Ellsworth Grant, Author
Ellsworth Grant, a well known local conservationist wrote this newspaper article describing the new regional initiative to establish the Gateway compact to protect the lower Connecticut River Valley.

Article, Connecticut Historic Riverway by Dr. Greg Curtis, University of Connecticut, Institute of Public Services
The purpose of the article is to “outline an acceptable legislative formula by which local, state, and federal governments will be encouraged to cooperate in seeking solutions to the problem of river valley preservation. An excellent summary of the initiative to establish a National Park in the Connecticut River and its implications to those of us in the lower Connecticut River valley.  As a note, Dr. Curtis was the chairman of the “Gateway Unit Advisory Committee”.