A reader asked about the listings for 20 and 47 Alpine Road, $4.350 and $8.995 million, respectively. Both are pretty impressive homes on a good street (though Merritt noise can be an issue coming across the pond 47 fronts), but when I pulled up the satellite photo of the street to check its proximity (close) to the Merritt, I saw this image and was reminded of the history of the highway, or the history according to local lore.
According to the story, when the Merritt was originally laid out, it was planned to follow a path that ran right through several of the Rockefeller’s properties and developments which, of course, would never do. Calls were made to at the appropriate friends in Hartford, and voila! The loop you see below. That sharp turn north is said to have claimed a lot of lives over the decades since the road was built, but hey, Khakum Wood was spared the indignity of seeing Buick roadsters hurtling past the kitchen windows of the elite.
There’s also the story, found in the oral history of the Merritt recorded by Greenwich Library, that the Merritt’s route was changed at least three times before construction actually began. A route would be decided on and secretly passed on to select politicians and their allies who, in turn, would rush out and buy the land from unsuspecting farmers, then sold to the state at an inflated price. Then the route would be changed, and the same scam could be worked again. After this was repeated three or four times, word got out and our friends in Hartford were finally forced to settle on a route and stick to it.
Except in the case of Rockefeller’s Loop (in view of a couple of myopic readers who have complained that they can’t see the curve, I’ve substituted a different illustration. If they still can’t see it, well, … tough)