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While clearing brush from a meadow on Currituck Road during a recent routine work day, Milton Adams, crew chief for the Newtown Department of Public Works, came across something that at first he thought was a piece of Styrofoam, then, upon further inspection, realized was made of stone and thought was an old grave marker.
After having a closeup look, Mr Adams concluded it was likely a mile marker based on the engraving: The letter B centered near the top, with the number 20 underneath it.
Mr Adams contacted Town Historian Dan Cruson who concurred that this is, in fact, a mile marker, dating back to the early 1800s when the Bridgeport and Newtown Turnpike was created as a main toll roadway for traffic. The Bridgeport and Newtown Turnpike went up the current Route 25 location and continued slightly right onto Currituck, whereas the main arterial road (Routes 25 and 6) now continues slightly left.
The engraving represents the 20-mile mark from the Bridgeport line, and was used by travelers — first via horse and buggy.
“I’ve been doing this for 34 years now and this is the first time I’ve come across something like this,” Mr Adams said.
Mr Adams said he was pulling vines and other overgrowth from a stone wall to do work on a drainage ditch. The marker sits on the outer edge of, but slightly set into, the rock wall that separates town and privately owned land.
Another marker, labeled “B 21” was found, Mr Cruson believes, more than a decade ago, a mile up the road from this one. There was some question then as to whether it signified the 21-mile mark from Bridgeport, Mr Cruson said.
And now we know.
“This establishes the fact that this is a mile marker,” Mr Cruson said of the most recent finding.
The first one that was found was moved to the Matthew Curtiss House because it had been tampered with, Mr Cruson said. He is hopeful this mile marker, which he believes is made of marble, can be left alone.
“I’d like to see it left in its original position,” Mr Cruson said. “It’s a magnificent little relic to the past, and past transportation. This was one of the first toll roads we had in the area. I don’t know that there are many left. That road has been widened and changed dramatically throughout the years.”
Tina and Terry Benhardt live in an old saltbox farm house at 81 Currituck Road on the old Sedar Farm property (Tina’s birth name is Sedar), which abuts the land where the mile marker is located.
“I think it is an absolutely wonderful piece of history for Newtown and we’re full of history here,” Ms Benhardt said.
“It was just a total surprise to me — a pleasant surprise,” Mr Benhardt added.
Michael Sepp, who resides on a Hedge Meadow Lane property that also abuts the land that was cleared, commented to The Newtown Bee about this unique discovery.
“Once in a while you stumble upon things like this and it’s a reminder of how rich our history is,” Mr Sepp said.
“It’s just cool that these things are around,” said Mr Sepp’s daughter, 13-year-old Hannah, who added that this sort of thing serves as a reminder of our history and to “not to get too caught up in all of our technology.”