MERIDEN — Little known facts about Walter Hubbard and Hubbard Park were presented by Justin Piccirillo during an hourlong tour around the park with a group of over 20 people on Saturday morning.
This tour followed the publication of Piccirillo’s book “Hubbard Park” (Images of America) in early February. The book contains over 200 photos of the park from 1898 to 2020.
“The story of Hubbard, if you’ve ever seen the movie ‘The Hangover,’ it’s funnier than that. If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Titanic,’ it’s sadder than that.” Piccirillo said. “Hubbard’s life was really a rollercoaster.”
The book tells the story of Hubbard’s business career leading him to acquire land which eventually became Hubbard Park. The book also tells the story of Hubbard’s inspiration for Castle Craig from a tower in Craigellachie, Scotland.
Brian Lamphier attended the tour and said he has been good friends with Piccirillo for over 20 years.
“I hike here a lot and I have his book so I know a lot about the park,” Lamphier said.”But he always knows one little extra thing about the park because he’s been doing so much research.”
Many of the tourists said although they have been to the park many times, they were learning new facts and little things in the park that weren’t obvious before.
One thing Piccirillo pointed out was called the “face rock.” The rock is in the shape of a head and there are two spots for eyes where marbles used to be.
“This is the man in stones,” Piccirillo said. “The reason for Mr. Face Rock is before Hubbard created the children’s playground that can be seen in postcards, he wanted to create something for the kids. He loved the youth, he wanted something that would attract the kids.”
Cheshire residents Neves and Paul Gleason have been going to the park a lot more since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We just really started getting into it,” Neves Gleason said. “And there’s just so much to reasearch. He’s (Piccirillo) like a compository of everything.”
Neves Gleason said she was most surprised at the fact that there are very few things in the park that are original from when Hubbard created it.
During the tour, Piccirillo pointed out other things like the creation of I-691, an original bridge from when Hubbard created the park and pointed out all the things that were created that Hubbard had never seen.
Purchase “Hubbard Park” (Images of America) on Amazon for $31.99 for hardcover or $18.83 for paperback.