History of Highland Lake

This article was taken from the Highland Lake Reflections publication.

Narrative Reproduced From:
"A Glimpse of Highland Lake, Winsted, Conn.," by Gilbert L. Hart

Highland Lake is situated at Winsted, Conn., among the hills of Litchfield County, which are a continuation of the far-famed Berkshires, and for beauty of setting and accessibility is unsurpassed, being only one hundred and eighteen miles north of New York via N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R. (Naugatuck Division), and thirty-five miles west of Hartford over the Central New England Railway.

Winsted, being the junction of north and south with east and west state road systems, is ideally located for those who travel by motor car.

This Lake among the hills is only one-half mile from the main business street of a manufacturing town of 8,000 population whose busy wheels are turned by its waters which fall 150 feet. There are several islands which appeal to those seeking retirement. The altitude is about 900 feet above sea level.

Wakefield Boulevard is a delightful drive of seven miles, built by the town, encircling the Lake. It affords convenient access to every part of the shore which is all firm ground and available for cottage sites. This is one of the townís most attractive drives and is deservedly popular.

The drive on the west side is quite close to the shore so that the water is in sight most of the distance, while on the east side of the lake the drive goes through magnificent woods, occasionally approaching the shore, varying the scenery enough to suit all tastes. This seven-mile ride once taken will never be forgotten.

But little idea of the size of Highland Lake is gained from the views on account of its shape. It is, in fact, next to the largest body of fresh water in the state of Connecticut and has an area of 489 acres, affording ample space for the use of power boats, of which there are a large number, many of which are for hire. These afford a pleasant and convenient means of transportation.

This Lake is a part of Winstedís water system, being supplied from Rugg Brook and Crystal Lake reservoirs through Sucker Brook. It also receives the water from a considerable watershed through Taylor Brook and is fed by innumerable springs.

Occasionally there is a fine meadow that reaches to the Boulevard showing manís supremacy and joining with the nearby woods to please the eye of visitors who will find a comfortable hotel open during the summer months should they desire to linger awhile amid these scenes.

Previous to the improvement of Winstedís water system in 1894, the water of Highland Lake was used for City purposes but at that time the mains were extended to Crystal Lake and it became a pleasure ground and now has nearly 150 cottages on its shores; this development was gradual and came naturally from Winsted and the nearby thriving town of Torrington.

A social organization, composed of cottagers, has acquired a picturesque island and erected a Club House which promises to become the center of the social life of the Summer Colony. It will not require a vivid imagination to develop the island view (Editorís note: reference is to Russellís Island, which then became known as Wallís Island, and now is the Horowitz property) into a most attractive Club. They have erected a cozy Club House and built a tennis court among the trees which must be seen in use to fully realize the possibilities awaiting the Highland Lake Club.

The Lake affords excellent fishing; Perch, Pickerel and Black Bass being the most abundant. Bathing is a favorite pastime with many.

The aim of ďA Glimpse of Highland LakeĒ is to introduce to the lovers of nature this delightfully picturesque spot and stimulate a desire to become acquainted with its many attractions, believing that it has only to become known to the lovers of nature to become popular.

The Lake is reached directly from the center of the town over good walks where power launches, accommodatingly run for a ten-cent fare, will take one to any point on the Lake, also by electric cars via Junction Park to the east side of third bay and by a reasonable Jitney Service.

Having abundant faith in the future of Highland Lake property, which has now been developed to an extent that assures its permanency, I am specializing in it and have in my hands for sale nearly all the undeveloped property and many individual cottages to which I invite your attention.

The prices are still so reasonable that there is a good chance for investment. I offer cottage lots, hotel sites, furnished cottages and larger tracts if desired. A cottage at Highland Lake assures a restful vacation, without great expense, and will readily rent any season you do not wish to occupy it.

(Article provided by Sue Peacock)