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East Haddam Is Our Home

Written for East Haddam's 300th Anniversary
(Sung to the tune of "John Brown's Body," "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," among others.)
By KATE SWIFT (1985)

'Tis eastward of the river that an old historic town

Gleams among the hills and pastures and the streams that tumble down.

From below the Lower Landing up to Mount Parnassus' crown,

East Haddam is our home.

(Refrain)

Oh, it's great to be three hundred;

Say, it's great to be three hundred;

Hey, it's great to be three hundred;

East Haddam is our home.

Here the Wangunks and Mohegans and Nehantics once did walk

When they came to Machimoodus where they worshipped Habbamock,

And they heard the mighty noises deep inside the quaking rock.

East Haddam is our home.

The first intrepid families here, in sixteen eighty-five,

Settled down along the Creek Row, and they managed to survive,

And lots of their descendants are now very much alive.

East Haddam is their home.

Though they had to build their houses out of logs and mud and stones,

The Ackleys and the Brainerds and the Spencers and the Cones

And the Bateses and the Gateses all had iron in their bones.

East Haddam was their home.

Today six thousand people share this excellent domain—

Moodus, Leesville, and Lake Hayward, Hadlyme, Millington, North Plain—

And the citizens are loyal, honest, generous, and humane.

East Haddam is their home.

Still progressing in the spirit of the founding pioneers,

To Connecticut's great glory is this town that has no peers.

And we shall sing its praises for the next three hundred years!

East Haddam is our home.

By GLADYS VESSA (2000)

I drive past the empty field

Where Old Moodus Center used to be,

And I see the old buildings

In my memory.

There was Weinstein's Soda Shop

And Billy Levine's too.

Kids ate their lunch every day

And had a Coke or two.

There was Joe Budka's Tavern,

Where guys came from far and near,

To quench their thirst with

A big glass of his good beer.

There was Sam Pear's General Store,,

Where Sam used to stand,

Especially at election time,

Shaking every hand.

The Post Office was small but

It was used by many,

A stamp cost a nickel and

A postcard a penny.

There was a Finast Store,

And the thing to do,

Was shop on Friday night

And cash your paycheck too.

There was Shenkman's package store,

And Sarah everyday

Would sweep the sidewalk clean

And chase the kids away.

There was Ray McMullen's drug store,

Where the men could meet

To have a cup of coffee

Or an ice cream treat.

There were two barbershops

And Tylec's Grocery Store.

At Pear's Butcher Shop,

Who could ask for more?

Tony had a tavern,

Where the guys would play

Cards on Sunday afternoons,

To pass the time away.

Charlie Bernstein's Hardware Store,

At the end of the row,

Had Ruth Urban to help you with

What you had to know.

It's hard to imagine

That on one street,

There were so many shops and

So many friends to greet.

A lot of the old merchants

Are now dead and gone,

But in the hearts of oldtimers

Their memory lives on.

There's a new Moodus Center now,

But it's not the same,

People are all strangers and

No one calls your name.

It's not like it used to be,

When old friends used to meet,

And say to one another,

"I'll see you Downstreet."

By ELSA VON WALLMENICH (1913)

Ode to a River Town

From the Swing Bridge Grand Opening Program

Settlers roaming here and there
Among New England hills,
Espied some land beyond compare
Where wondrous Nature thrills.

It's just the place for us to live:
'Tis here we'll till the ground.
These blankets, trinkets, rum we'll give.
Chief takes? The bargain's bound.

The white man gave the Indian tall
The load from his canoe.
A hundred dollars covered all
In sixteen sixty-two.

Once homes were built, the village thrived
And grew into a town.
The name of Haddam it derived
Your Haddam of renown.

A river cut that town in two,
With farms on either slope.
Thus transportation, it is true,
Is cheap, but who could hope

To have a city some fine day
Engulf this township? For
A ferry was the only way
To reach the other shore.

"A house divided can not stand,"
You'll surely all agree.
The same held good about this land.
It's changed now-don't you see?

To-day a bridge unites the banks.
Loud be the cheer that's raised!
Then unto God offer your thanks,
And Haddams long be praised!

Drone shot by Frank Dinardi

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