There is an 18-acre park in Old Greenwich known as Laddin's Rock Sanctuary. It's on the north side of Highmeadow Road off of Laddin's Rock Road. As part of the Old Greenwich "greenbelt", it runs from Interstate 95 to Long Island Sound along the Stamford border. Rock climbers who visit and climb the 60-foot crystalline granite precipice in the park are rewarded with scenic vistas looking south. It provides sanctuary for many bird species. Perhaps it is best known for its historical significance.
In the 1640s, the Dutch controlled New York, while the English controlled a good part of Connecticut. Legend has it that the Dutch gave the Native-Americans "firewater" (liquor) to incite them against the English. The Native-Americans had fished in Long Island Sound and hunted in the wooded areas for years. They felt that they were being "squeezed out" by the new settlers. There were several incidents of killings by both sides, eventually resulting in the Cos Cob massacre.
Before this massacre, a Dutch farmer by the name of Labden (Anglicized to Laddin) was out clearing and cultivating his field in Old Greenwich when he noticed his neighbors' houses were on fire. He ran inside his house to protect his wife and 16-year-old daughter. He barricaded the door. A Native-American tried to set Laddin's house on fire with a torch, but Laddin shot him. After a while, a group attacked the house. Laddin's wife and daughter begged him to save his own life by escaping. The women would trust the Native-Americans not to hurt them. Laddin reluctantly agreed, slipping out the back door. He retreated to some bushes, where he could watch. The Native-Americans finally pushed the door in and dragged the women outside, where they were scalped and murdered. Laddin watched dishearteningly from the bushes. Somehow the Native-Americans spotted him and gave chase. Laddin headed for the well-known rock precipice. He stopped short of the cliff and yelled back, "Come on, ye foul fiends! I go to join your victims". At this point, he and his horse jumped off the cliff and hit the ground. Laddin broke both his legs. The pursuers followed him over the cliff, and all but one were killed. One managed to grab hold of a tree branch about 50-feet above the ground. He went back to settlement in Cos Cob to relate the story.
Photo Coutesy of "Our Greenwich"