When visiting Lover’s Leap State Park in New Milford, you might wonder how this relatively new State Park founded in 1971 got its name. If you want to know about the legend of Lover’s Leap and the fascinating history of this scenic spot then head to the Institute for American Indian Studies located on Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut to see the new exhibition. The Lover’s Leap Exhibition will be on display through July 2019.
The Heart of the Matter
The Legend of Weantinaug tells the story of Lillinoah, daughter of Chief Waramaug who fell in love with a European settler from Stratford. The elders of her village, Weantiaug, wanted to kill him; she pleaded for his life and saved him. The young man stayed in the village for several seasons and, consequently, he and Lillinoah became engaged. Eventually, he told Lillinoah that he had to leave the village so he could tell his family of their engagement. Lillinoah waited for the young man to return for more than a year, to no avail. Like any concerned parent, Chief Waramaug told Eagle Feather, one of his bravest warriors to marry his daughter, Linninoah. Distraught at the thought of marrying someone she did not love, Lillinoah slipped out the night before her wedding and rowed over the falls, just as she did, her lover came upon her and jumped in to join her. They drowned together giving the bluff that overlooks the Housatonic River the name, Lover’s Leap.
The Legend of Weantinaug has become part of the cultural heritage of the Litchfield Hills and is told in this exhibition with interesting historical notes and lavish illustrations. Ironically, the Institute has identified fifty Lover’s Leap stories around the country where lovers are said to actually take the plunge. Most of the stories identified have at least one Native character, usually, a woman falling in love with a white man or forbidden lovers from two warring tribes.
Visitors to this exhibition will travel from the Pre-European contact life of Native Americans and the legends they left behind for us to ponder to the gilded age of the Hurd Estate. As the exhibition moves through time it traces the exciting development of the regions industrial heritage and the ways in which the landscape was altered forever as the need for hydroelectric power became increasingly important in the 20th century.
About the Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 woodland acres the IAIS has an outdoor Three Sisters and Healing Plants Gardens as well as a replicated 16th c. Algonkian Village. Inside the museum, authentic artifacts are displayed in permanent, semi-permanent and temporary exhibits from prehistory to the present that allows visitors a walk through time. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut and can be reached online or by calling 860-868-0518. Book Connecticut’s exciting new attraction, Wigwam Escape 1518 and get into the Museum for half price.