The Yale Preserve is an oft-overlooked patch of forest not 20 minutes down the road from campus. Nestled between the Yale New Haven golf course and an interstate, it’s a somewhat unlikely place to go seeking fresh air and wildlife. Nonetheless, it’s one of my favorite places in Connecticut to walk and find snakes, frogs, and salamanders.
My friend Max has been working in the Preserve for the last 4 years, and I tag along whenever I can. He’s recently been digging deeper into the history of the area and came across some old photos taken back in 1929. Here’s one for example:
Well, lo and behold, that dam is still there, so Max and I decided to revisit the spot and see if we could recreate the picture. After a great deal of practice picture snapping, one foot to the right, one foot to the left, I think we pretty much found the granite outcropping the photographer, 85 years ago, used to stabilize the shot.
Some things have changed, that tree in the foreground is now a stump, and the stone wall has felt the wear of time. Interestingly, that bridge was relocated about 100 feet further back sometime in the last few decades (and has since itself fallen into disrepair). Despite the changes, there were still many similarities that made us immediately feel connected to that photographer decades ago. We’re in the process of tracking down more old photos of the preserve. I’ll post any further successes we have in updating them with present-day counterparts.