The “road to Mystic” is named for a 19th-century maritime community with agricultural roots uniquely positioned by the river and connected to the sea. Greenmanville began to emerge in the 1830s and found its namesake by 1849 with the rise of wooden shipbuilding on the banks of the Mystic River, led in part by three brothers named Greenman. Landscape and location were key to the community’s renowned success, but by the 1870s other industry began to supplant the remains of local shipbuilding as westward expansion and technology transformed the idyllic rural concept of life.
Greenmanville offers a point of entry to examine the sense of a place still found here in Mystic. The river continues to connect everything together from forest to sea. And what gave rise to this old maritime community still lies intact as a preserved gateway known as Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center’s Coogan Farm campus, located on Greenmanville Avenue in Mystic. The roots of nature and heritage here are profound and forever protected as the Nature Center stewards the last parcel of undeveloped property in Mystic with great care and purpose. Coogan Farm itself offers a unique and broad opportunity to weave together stories spanning four centuries to help achieve an ecologically healthy future for all by enhancing knowledge of heritage and nature.
This self-guided walking tour was created by the Nature Center with cooperation from Mystic Seaport Museum, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, Mystic River Historical Society and Mystic River Boathouse Park. There are currently six stations in the walking tour guiding the audience through the centuries, illuminating stories of land and people. The tour begins at Avery Farmhouse at Coogan Farm and ends at Mystic Seaport Museum.