Description - *This information was provided by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection*
Osbornedale State Park is located in the Naugatuck Valley Hills just east of the Housatonic River in Derby and Ansonia. The land was once the lushly forested hunting grounds of the Paugussett Indians. Fur traders, such as John Wakeman in 1642, were the first people of European descent to move into the Indians' territory. Permanent settlers began arriving in the late 1650's. The land was gradually purchased from the Paugussetts for items such as clothing or cooking utensils. Because the Europeans concept of property rights was not embodied in the Indian culture, the Indians often sold the same parcel of land several times.
The new settlers cleared the land for farming and took advantage of their location on the Housatonic and Naugatuck Rivers by developing the area into a trading port, which at one time rivalled New Haven harbor. The name of the settlement, originally called "Paugussett" was changed to "Derby" in 1675 after Derbyshire, England, the former home of many colonists.
Though never commercially successful, lands now within the park off Silver Hill Road were mined for silver for a short period after the Revolutionary War. In addition, a spring water bottling business was part of the present park land. In 1956, Osbornedale State Park was willed to the people of Connecticut by Frances Osborne Kellogg, granddaughter of John W. Osborne, one of the Naugatuck Valley's early industrial entrepreneurs.
The prominent Osborne family owned numerous metal working and fabric product factories in the area. At the young age of 24, Frances Osborne, later Mrs. Waldo Kellogg, took over the family business when her father died in 1907. Miss Osborne's decision to take over the family business instead of selling it was contrary to the advice of the executers of her father's estate, and a brave undertaking for a woman in the early part of the century. Despite the prejudices against woman in business at that time, Mrs. Frances Osborne Kellogg was very successful in her many businesses and investments. By adhering to the belief that one should always buy land but never sell it, Mrs. Kellogg gradually acquired the numerous separate farms which now comprise the 350 acre Osbornedale State Park, an unusually large property in the Derby-Ansonia area.
Two very successful farms known as the Osbornedale Farms, were owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg. One farm was a breeding farm for the prize winning Osbornedale Holstien cows. The other farm, acquired from the Basset family, was an excellent milk-producing dairy farm of Jersey cows. Both farms claimed champions in their fields.
- Osbornedale State Park offers, bathrooms, an environmental center, a historic home, picnic shelters, and picnic table facilities.
Recreation - Field sports, museum tours, hiking, picnicking, ice skating, and pond fishing are all possibilities at Osbornedale State Park
Climate - The climate of this state involves a moderate amount of humidity, heat and cold. Summer highs reach 90 degrees F with low temperatures near 65 degrees. Evenings near the water can become cool and light jackets and sweaters are recommended. Winter temperatures average in the mid thirties during the day and in the teens at night. Rarely do temperatures dip to zero, especially in the southern portion of the state, where the water influences the more temperate weather.
From Route 8 south: take Exit 17. Take a left at the end of the exit ramp. Take another left at the lighted intersection (Division Street). Drive approximately ¾ miles. Osbornedale State Park will be on the right across from Derby High School.
From Route 8 north: take Exit 18. Take a left at the end of the exit ramp. Drive approximately ½ mile. Osbornedale State Park will be on the right across from the Derby High School.