Lazy Sunday Ramble: Jordan Lane

October 4, 2009

Usually, four-day weeks seem to go by fast, but when the extra day is spent fasting, somehow it doesn’t feel like such a vacation. So it was with this past week, in which Monday was devoted to Yom Kippur atonement, and the remaining days were devoted to the usual relentless crush of work requirements – made especially acute by the fact that I drove every day and didn’t get to ride my bike at all. Then yesterday was a day of entertaining restless children indoors while the rain pounded away and my dear wife nursed a cold in bed. So today I was restless.

Luckily, Anna was feeling better, so I got to go out for a bicycle jaunt. Since I wanted to swing by the art supply store on New Britain Ave., I figured I’d explore a nearby mystery, to wit, this very existential question: What ever happened to Jordan Lane?

JordanLn

As Google Maps helpfully tells us, Jordan Lane connects Hartford Ave. in Newington (a.k.a. Newington Ave. in Hartford) with the Berlin Turnpike and points east. However, when I have tried to make the turn from Hartford Ave. onto Jordan Lane, in an effort to ride my bike to Middletown, Jordan Lane is relentlessly absent. What appears to be in its place is the Tilco Quarry:

Tilco Quarry, from Hartford Ave.

I know that Google Maps sometimes shows roads that once existed, and a friend had told me that Jordan Lane is still there in some form, traversible by mountain bike. So today, I came from the Berlin Turnpike side, hoping to figure it out.

To the east of the Berlin Turnpike, Jordan Lane is a regular street with supermarkets and cars and all that good stuff. To the west, it is a sometimes paved, sometimes rutted track between two cemeteries:

Jordan Lane
(As you can see, I didn’t exactly bring a mountain bike, because I don’t exactly own one. But my 40-year-old folding bike proved perfectly adequate for the task.)

Eventually, it tapers into a gravel and dirt path, and then progress is further impeded by a big gate:

Entrance to Jordan Lane

At this point, another gravel road branches off to the south (Google Maps says this is Russel Road). It runs along a big cliff overlooking the aforementioned Tilco Quarry, and the view is pretty awesome:

Tilco Quarry, from Russell Road
(You should really click to see the larger version.)

Another time I will explore Russell Road, but today was for Jordan Lane, so with some ingenuity and the aide of some earlier traveller who graciously opened a whole in an adjoining fence, I pressed on. The street here was just a footpath, but wide and clear enough to be traversed by an antique three-speed with little wheels. It skirted along the edge of the cliff overlooking the quarry, affording more neat views:

Tilco Quarry, looking south from Jordan Lane

Also, some weathered graffiti:

Grafitti on Jordan Lane

Eventually, the path led down to the back side of the quarry and opened into a lot filled with heavy machinery. Mindful of the frequency with which industrial spaces are patrolled by angry dogs (a lesson I learned the hard way once in Brooklyn), I was reluctant to cross over Tilco property. Luckily, there was another way to go, through another hole in a fence, which led to an overgrown, rocky path that opened, after about 20 feet, onto Hartford Ave. and this charmingly Soviet local business:

How charmingly Soviet

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7 Responses to “Lazy Sunday Ramble: Jordan Lane”

  1. Heather B said

    Thanks for this tale of your travels. I was just trying to locate Jordan Lane myself the other day, as I meandered around to the south in an attempt to see how I could get from the DMV in Wethersfield to the West Hartford center without taking the interstate. On Google maps Jordan Lane looks so convenient, but in reality, yes, quite elusive. More so than I would have guessed.

  2. Brings me back to my youth (one day in about 1958) when I explored the mysteries of Merrick, NY, before it became completely suburbanized.

  3. Brendan said

    Don’t let too many people know.

  4. […] to look at the sunset from the bluff overlooking the quarry there, behind Cedarcrest Hospital. (Here’s the view from a previous visit.) Unfortunately, after getting as far as the parking lot (photo below), we were politely but firmly […]

  5. Brett said

    I’m confused, now. I take Jordan lane to and from wethersfield very regularly, but never west from the turnpike – is that what you’re talking about?

    Go to google maps now, it looks different from your screen shot.

  6. El Prez said

    Brett,

    They realized that a tiny dirt footpath shouldn’t be marked as a street, I guess. But yes – Jordan Lane, west of the Turnpike, is now called Russell Road on Google Maps. That’s where we’re talking about.

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