Gusting winds rock a cluster of cedars dauntlessly perched atop an ancient traprock cliff in the Metacomet Range. In the valley below, the outskirts of Meriden are eased from their twilight slumber as dawn banishes a blanket of morning fog.
Originally known as Meriden Farm when it was settled by hard-scrabble pioneers from the Connecticut Colony in the mid-1600s, Meriden has managed over the intervening centuries to swell from a remote, agrarian outpost to a city of more than 60,000. Industry flourished there during the Gilded Age and beyond, especially in the form of silver manufacturing, earning Meriden the nickname “Silver City”. The handle persists to this day, even long after the old factories were shuttered.
But if The Silver City isn’t really notable for its silver any longer, it’s certainly a veritable gold mine of municipal parkland. Almost 18% of Meriden’s landscape is contained within city parks and, as the literature explains, “no other city in New England can match that percentage!” Central among those parks are Meriden’s traprock ridges, characterized by precipitous cliffs which tower over the surrounding valleys and dominate the city’s horizon. I produced “Daybreak at Chauncey Cliffs” from the summit of the 700-foot Chauncey Peak which rises from woodlands in the northeastern reaches of the city.
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