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 outcrop of ledge around which glaciers deposited many large boulders, one on top of another, and doubtlessly making a suitable habitat for wildlife.
This property was donated by Theresa Shirer in 1969. Theresa, a native of Austria, was the wife of William L. Shirer, war correspondent, historian and author. Theresa was an artist in her own right and had a studio near her home. The Shirers chose Torrington as their weekend and summer home, away from the bustle of Manhattan.
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 disrepair today and needs some work.
On top of the ledge outcropping are several points of interest. At one point there are remains of cut stones. Another nice feature is a beautiful stone wall running down a rather steep hill. The wall is in surprisingly good shape, however. To the east of the stone wall is an original stone survey marker from the first survey of town. The east boundary is original highway. This area is near where the town proprietors intended the Minister’s Lot to be.
On the west end of the wall are the remains of a chestnut tree. This tree must have been a giant in its’ day- I remember it being more than 3’ in diameter. It has slowly disintegrated over the years, but can plainly be seen in the 1937 aerial photos.