“Castle Hill” is a little hilltop off of Castle Hill Road in Newtown offering expansive eastern views of distant hills, late year sunrises, the comings and goings of Oxford Airport, Newtown’s Main Street flagpole and, on the fourth of July, fireworks across the entire horizon. A lone bench sits there, and a quick trail circuit leads down the hill and into a small patch of woods.
This peaceful spot is actually called Nettleton Preserve, named after Howard T. Nettleton, who donated land to the Newtown Forest Association in 1973. D. Labelle donated additional land in 1996 for a total of 23 acres. A castle did once sit on the property, built by Peter Lorrillard Ronald in 1888. He left the castle to his mistress upon his death in 1905, but she was unable to keep up with the property. The castle was demolished in 1947.
Now Castle Hill is a well-loved spot to sit back and enjoy the view. Or smoke pot, or get a blow job. All of these activities are well-documented within “The Castle Hill Bench Box”, created by a “K.M.”. The box holds a journal, paper and pens and all sorts of missives about the view, life, or the writer’s level of intoxication.
Some entries are historical in nature, where the writer recalls visiting the hilltop in the 1970s. Some are suicide notes, real or fake. One writer has a guilty conscience – she and her boyfriend stole the box, but then they brought it back. “He doesn’t feel bad, but I do,” she penned. Another writer works at The Creamery and made her entry as she enjoyed some ice cream alone. She thanked all of the customers who tipped and smiled, and wrote that the cranky customers made work “suck” and requested that everyone just be patient. “After all, it’s just ice cream,” she wrote.
With the Bench Box, K.M. has invited the creation of a cultural and historical relic, a sort of Castle Hill-based PostSecret, a tribute that is part consecration and part desecration, a document as majestic as the Castle Hill view itself.
The Great Greater Danbury Project is a compilation of all “things” that are great about the Greater Danbury area.
Submit your own “GGD”! A paragraph or a few, and a photo or link to a video. Please include your name and city/town of residence. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.