Healthy Valley 2000s Arts & Recreation Committee has designed a historic, scenic driving tour of the six Lower Naugatuck Valley towns Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton. The Valley Heritage Driving Tour is complete and was unveiled on October 1, 1999 at the official kick-off event which began at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby.
The kickoff event took 45 members of the media and local community leaders on the tour via coach bus, and was narrated by live tour guides who told the history of the Valley in historic garb. The Greater New Haven Convention & Visitors bureau donated the cost of the bus. Participants were treated to free pumpkin ice cream from Richs Farm in Oxford, apple crumb and cider from Oronoque Farms in Shelton and mint cookies from fresh mint grown at the Ansonia Nature Center.
The tour, which is self-guided, is available to the public at Valley libraries, historical societies, the Chamber and Valley United Way. It takes participants through the most historic and scenic attractions the Valley has to offer. Participants can learn the history of the Valley as they experience its scenic beauty. Participants will learn that Roosevelt Drive (Route 34) was named after President Roosevelt motored its length; and that celebrities such as comedian Red Skelton, composer John Philip Sousa and dancer Donald OConnor graced the stage of the Sterling Opera House in Derby.
Free color maps, showing the tour route and attractions are available to the public, as well as companion booklets which describe each site on the tour in detail. The tour is currently available on the Electronic Valley web site at electronicvalley.org/tour
"This is a great opportunity for us to show off our rich history to those who live in the Valley and those who visit us," said Judy Augusta, member of the Arts & Recreation Committee. "People will be amazed at how many historic and scenic attractions there are in our own back yard," she added. This project was funded in part by the Katharine Matthies Foundation.
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