WASHINGTON — Author and historian Carol Santoleri will give an illustrated presentation on the early days of the Steep Rock Association on Zoom on Monday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m. Called “Rossiter’s Riverside Retreat,” the program is being co-sponsored by the Gunn Historical Museum and the Steep Rock Association.
Registration is required to receive the Zoom link, which will be sent by email, via the museum’s registration web page at gunnlibrary.org.
In the late 1880s, Ehrick Rossiter (1854-1941) recognized the inherent beauty of Washington, Connecticut’s Shepaug River Valley and began buying up riverside land, including a renowned cliff known as Steep Rock, a museum announcement said. He wound carriage roads through the valley’s fields and forests to link scenic overlooks, river crossings, and picnic spots, creating a rustic retreat called Steep Rock Park. A decade later, a young man named Joseph West (1876-1952) began photographing the park. Over the next 25 years, he took over 200 pictures of the river, trails, and overlooks, creating glass plate negatives that are now in the collection of the Gunn Historical Museum.
Santoleri spent several years in an effort not only to identify the landscapes in West’s photographs, but also track down the exact spots where he set his tripod. Focusing on “then and now” comparisons that span over 100 years, her presentation brings the history of one of the most picturesque and conservation worthy landscapes of Litchfield County to life, the announcement said.
Santoleri is a landscape historian, photographer, and author of “The History of Steep Rock Association: The Jewel in the Crown” (2020). She has a fine arts degree in landscape architecture from Rhode Island School of Design, a master’s degree in early modern landscape history from Columbia University, and six years of experience as a curatorial research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All proceeds from the sale of her book (available at the Hickory Stick Bookshop and steeprockassoc.org) go to support Steep Rock Association.
For more information, visit the museum’s website or contact the museum at 860-868-7756 or firstname.lastname@example.org.