About

Pinewood Lake and its facilities are the center of a private recreational community with no public access. In addition to the lake, Pinewood Lake Association maintains a clubhouse, several boat racks, two dams, a common access beach and several access parcels interspersed between houses that border the lake.

IMG 2

History…
The following material was originally written by Mr. E. Merrill Beach for whose family Beach’s Park was named. Mr. Beach consulted many sources, including Trumbull Town Records, history books, maps, recollections of old timers and his own experience as an organizer of the Pinewood Lake Association in the 1940s. Additional materials have been added by Mary Keane and John Girard.

Before Trumbull was settled, the Pinewood area was the home of Mischa, a Paugussett Indian, who lived with his clan near a natural lake which the settlers later called Old Farm Pond. Old Farm Pond was about 1150 feet long and 775 feet at its widest part, tapering to points at both ends. This pond was fed by Booth Hill Brook and Bears Den Brook, which joined about 1550 feet above the pond. During the period from 1836-1840, about 100 acres including Old Farm Pond were purchased from various local natives by the Pequonnock Manufacturing Company and Diantha Bunnell. These buyers had financial difficulties, and the property was transferred several times over the years. Subsequent owners included William R. Bunnell, Dean and La Monts, James Reed and Christopher C. Chadwick of Boston, the Bridgeport Paper Company, George Curtis of Boston, and others. The lake grew to 3600 feet in length with the addition of a dam for the Upper Pond, and a factory near it, apparently built before the Civil War. The factory produced woolen shirts and blankets for the soldiers. It was necessary in order to contain the water, to build a dike across the low neck of land on the southwest side of the pond. The dike is still visible below the water at the spillway, and it is the reason for the naming of Old Dike Road. Howard Curtis, who lived on Huntington Turnpike and owned property in near the lake, recalled ox-drawn carts of timber being drawn across the dike. He also recalled the spring-fed pasture land north and to the south of the present day island at 181 Pinewood Trail. On August 27, 1893, George Curtis sold the collected properties amounting to the approximately hundred acres and the lake (then called Bunnell’s Pond) to the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company (now Acquarion). Bridgeport Hydraulic also purchased a large tract of land to the west as a watershed, and proceeded to raise the dam about eight feet, extending the length of the lake by 600 to 700 feet. The new dam was built over the old dam and north of it. The area around the lake was sparsely populated and several old time residents have owned up to sneaking in to go fishing and swimming in the reservoir. The size of the lake at its remoteness probably allowed for ample warning when the water company sent their patrols through for a look.

In the 1930s, the lake and surrounding properties were purchased from Bridgeport Hydraulic by Benjamin Plotkin, who is described as affable and progressive. Mr. Plotkin developed it as a resort for guests, enamed the lake as Pinebrook Lake. He constructed the auditorium and revolving stage and called it Pinebrook Lodge, and he also built most of the small cabins near the lodge.  Pinebrook Lodge was built very quickly, in a matter of two months by 130 carpenters. Mr. Plotkin’s vision was to market the Pinebrook Lodge as a place to enjoy theatre productions. He didn’t realize that his Lodge would prove so attractive to aspiring theatrical actors and writers from New York that they would adopt Pinebrook Lake and create the famous Group Theatre which formed the roots of all modern American theater productions. Mr. Plotkin combined the lure of leading-edge theatre productions with important playwrights and actors with the peaceful vistas of the lake, low prices, and a short trip time from New York. Anyone who either didn’t want to take the popular but longer and more expensive trips to the Catskills could reach Pinebrook in a matter of hours for a round trip railroad fare of $1.25 in the 1930s. The resort flourished for several years but eventually became unprofitable, no doubt in part because of the many impacts of World War II.

Eventually a bank was appointed as trustee. Mortgages were held by the bank and by Bridgeport Hydraulic Company. The bank changed the name to Pinewood Lake, and divided the property around the lake into building lots. The bank created the Pinewood Lake Association and gave purchasers the option of becoming members of the Association which included privileges for the use of the Clubhouse. Sales proceeds were sufficient to clear the entire total of mortgage debts.  A large parcel to the west of Pinewood Lake was purchased by E. Merrill and Florence G. Beach, who later donated it to the Town of Trumbull as a park in memory of their son Robert Greening Beach, who perished in World War II. Beach Park today includes a Town Pool, and abuts Twin Brooks park to create an even larger and untouched wilderness area.  Pinewood lake measures 60.2 acres per CT DEEP survey in 2014.

Governance…
PLA is registered as an operating company in the State of Connecticut. Business activities are managed by a Board of Governors consisting of Owner Members elected from the various properties that are eligible for owner membership status within the Association. Below is a digital copy of the Pinewood Lake Assosciation’s Bylaws. rel=”attachment wp-att-71″>PLA Bylaws