The Voyage of Adraien Block LbNA # 11199 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Sep 29 2004|
Placed By: Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Wendy
Time: 15 minutes
Directions: Take route 2 East to Route 17, which is exit 7. Route 17 is Main Street, continue straight until you enter South Glastonbury Center. At the light take a right onto Water Street and follow the signs to the ferry. (you will cross a stone bridge) Take a right on to Ferry Lane. At the end of the road the river will be directly in front of you. You can park in the lot for the ferry. At the end of the parking lot enter the trails circling right. Soon there will be a place for the weary to rest. Take a moment and gaze out across the mighty waters of the Connecticut River. Strong ripples of changing currents mark the waters glassy surface. Perhaps you can imagine the ships of years past heavily loaded down with treasures and supplies for posts up north. After you rise continue on the trail until you notice a sign of what these ravished sailors might have snared for dinner. Continue on the trail until you come to a picnic table and a sign depicting ships of yesteryear. In front of you the strong waters rush by at a rapid pace. Maybe you can see Adraien at the helm of the Onrust shouting commands to his crew busily hoisting sail. Perhaps you can hear the stress in his voice as he navigates the tricky shallows below. Adraien's face must be filled with excitment, as his heart pounds quickly from the adrenalin rush of forging into unknown waters.
In front of you will be a huge 3 legged tree with "ropes dangling" around it. Behind this tree your treasure lies.
Who was Adraien Block? In 1613 an explorer from Holland was hired to investigate whether the Dutch should establish trading posts on the Hudson River. He and another fur trader were on their way back to Holland with a cargo of furs when Block's ship, the Tiger, caught fire and was desroyed at the mouth of the Hudson River. The two Captains and their crews constructed huts in which to live in throughout the winter on Manhattan Island while they built a new ship for Block, a 45 foot, 16 ton vessel, the Onrust (the Restless). The trial voyage of this new ship was in the spring of 1614 when Block sailed through the East River and the whirlpools he so aptly named Hellegat (Hell Gate) and into Long Island Sound. It is here, in Long Island Sound, that the only reminder of this explorer remains-Block Island. Block became the first recorded European to explore the Connecticut River, sailing 60 miles up the river, past present day Hartford. According to Henry Howe (Prologue to New England-1969) Block wrote in his journal, "On the south coast, succeeds a river named by our countrymen the Fresh River, which is shallow at its mouth...In some places it is very shallow, so that at about 30-60 miles up the river there is not much more than five feet deep." The Connecticut River is known for being difficult to navigate with its strong currents and sudden changes in depth. I can only imagine the difficulties these early explorers had in making such a voyage.
Captain Block returned to Holland with the positive news that fur trading was good. Over the next few years, trading between the Dutch and the Indians was established. In 1624 the Dutch built a trading post on the Connecticut River, calling it Kievitis Hoek. In 1633 after abandoning the first post the Dutch acquired land from the Indians in Hartford on which they built a fort and trading post (the House of Hope).