A blog by Bob Rich. Squirrel Hunting, Henry Rifles, Reloading, Range Shooting and More!

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Friday, September 2, 2016

The hunting lodge at Roraback WMA



I took this photo of what was once the hunting lodge at Roraback WMA. Before this photo was taken the lodge was gutted by fire. A short time later the building was leveled. J. Edger Hoover stayed at this lodge and hunted here.

"Roraback Wildlife Management Area is the State’s largest WMA, consisting of 2,100 acres and located in the town of Harwinton. The property was acquired by the Roraback family over a 5-year period commencing in 1930. The property was gifted to the State of Connecticut, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) in 1982, from the estate of Lewis P. Roraback. It was the family’s request that the property be maintained as undeveloped open space and be used for outdoor recreational activities, such as hunting, fishing, and trapping. The property is located within the Northwest Hills Ecoregion of the Central Hardwoods – White Pine Zone (Connecticut Ecoregions, Dowhan & Craig 1976), which is a lightly populated region of the State with limited residential and commercial development. The most prominent features of this WMA are Leadmine and Rock Brook streams, which are important tributaries of the Naugatuck River.

Roraback Facts:
  1. The main house is a 13 room Victorian that was built in 1870 by Cyrus Wilson. He used native Chestnut and oak he milled from the property.
  2. The house and 100 acres were sold to J. Henry Roraback in 1930.
  3. Roraback was a prominent Republican who started buying up property to use as a summer retreat. He paid approximately $20.00 per acre and eventually owned 2,100 acres. He named it Valley View Farms.
  4. The Windmill on the main property was built in 1936 by Roraback. The 73 foot windmill pumped water from a well, through the mill to a holding tank and then to the buildings of the dairy farm. The windmill was restored in 1993 and is listed as a historical building.
  5. The property was willed to the stae in 1982. It is used for passive recreation such as hunting (in designated areas only), fishing, cross country skiing, horse back riding and mountain biking.
  6. The main house was renovated to be used as Western District Headquarters for the D.E.P. divisions of Fisheries, Forestry, Wildlife, Law Enforcement, Parks and Support Services.

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