Bigelow remembers living in Camp Macedonia Brook which was built on the east side of the Housatonic River, several miles north of the center of town on Route 7. Nearly 200 men lived at the camp in barracks which were complete with a mess hall, recreational hall, showers and a “12-holer” outhouse. In winter the barracks were heated with coal stoves.
“The center of the camp was like a town square with paths leading to the flagpole,” Bigelow said during a recent interview. “This was where we gathered each morning for roll call and the raising of the flag. There was also a bell they rang for meals.”
When it rained Bigelow said everyone worked near camp instead, building walls along the nearby railroad tracks of the New York, New Haven & Hartford line. But for the six months he stayed at camp, Bigelow spent most of his time at Macedonia, which was designated a state park in 1919. Like the others, he was paid $30 each month of which $25 was sent to his family.
If you wondering what these young and unmarried laborers did back in Kent in the 1930s the answer is: not much. In fact the locals were a bit fearful that their young daughters might meet up with these out of-towners.
One such worker, Elmer Trombly, ended up meeting and marrying a local girl from Cornwall named Beatrice Thompson. They spent the rest of their lives together in Kent. Elmer was stationed at another CCC camp called Camp Cross, near Housatonic Meadows State Park in Cornwall. Many of those laborers worked at Kent Falls State Park although Elmer, before he passed away in 2009, remembers raking gravel along the roadbed of the road in Macedonia Brook State Park.
Workers from the Cross and Macedonia camps were also pressed into service in 1936 to help with the cleanup from the massive local flooding of the Housatonic River.
At Camp Macedonia, Bigelow and others were transported to and from Macedonia Brook State Park in U.S. Army trucks. Although the Army was in charge of the camps, the men fell under the direction of the U.S. Forestry Department while on the job.
For two years the working crew literally fought an uphill battle. The road begins near the present park ranger station and continues slightly uphill for nearly two miles before ending at Weber Road.
There’s little doubt the wall was the most difficult portion of the project. It runs intermittently depending on the landscape and slope. Even to this day, the stones are still firmly and evenly interlocked into place. The road is now a grassy path, as wide as 20 feet in places, with a few sections covered in gravel. At some points it moves away from the lower road before angling back in sections, passing by a number of the camp sites.
Although three-quarters of a century has passed since the completion of the road, the surface is still smooth and firm enough to easily allow the passage of the present-day automobile.