More Than a Little Stupid
Pygmy Village, New Britain/Plainville
I love junk like this. Every state has ‘em, really no more than another. I had them around me in northern Delaware – Satan Road (where the trees “grow backwards!”) and Zoobeeville (the always popular hidden away community of evil dwarves in tiny houses) to name but two. Here in Connecticut we have the Melonheads in Trumbull, the Frog People in Bethel and Pygmy Village in New Britain. All three are surely nonsensical urban legends perhaps originally based on one oddball in town, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth exploring and/or delving into the origination of the myth.
My husband..his brother and some friends keep talking about this small village of about 15-20 small houses…and its a village of little people… they said its up in the moutains behind the dmv on the line of new britain and plainville.
I do not believe them…so i was just wondering if anyone else has heard about this so called little people village…
They say if you drive up there they throw things at your car because they dont want to be bothered… how and why would a whole bunch of little people come together and live in this little “town”
– From YahooAnswers.com
(Note: There are other, just as interesting strange places around the state, but I categorize them a little differently. Like, Little People’s Kingdom in Watertown is actually real – in that there are mini-buildings in the woods, Dudleytown is real – in that there really are ruins in the woods in Cornwall, Bara Hack in Pomfret is real – in that there are cellar holes and old stone foundations in the woods, Gungywump in Uncasville is real – in that there are evidences of Native American life there. None of these places are haunted or scary, but they ARE interesting and deserve the full CTMQ treatment… In due time.)
Even though Hoang grew up in New Britain, she’d never heard about the Pygmy Village. Which is really strange, and made me question if this was a real New Britain/Plainville legend. Then Colin McEnroe mentioned one day and I sort of noted it, but let it sort of seep out of my consciousness. Then, just the other day I was going through old CTMQ notes again and trying to make sense of some of them and decided to Google “Pygmy Village New Britain” again and voila: Information.
Sketchy anecdotal information, but it was enough to go on. And once I started really poking around, I learned some cool stuff. I learned a ton of things just from Google maps, satellite and street view – the holy trinity for me. (In fact, the pictures in Part 1 are all from Google Maps because I really didn’t want to be a jackass and take too many pictures up there.
For one, the area in question is actually in Plainville, not New Britain. I don’t know why, but that’s sort of funny to me. The legend has always said it was in New Britain, and if it exists, it’s clearly in Plainville. The area is atop the hill to the west of I-84 at the Slater Road exit along a very poorly maintained stretch of very skinny road. It’s not a road you’ll want to traverse by accident on a dark and stormy night, believe me.
There are two approaches. Please note, this expose is meant to debunk the idea that a village of evil Pygmies or dwarves lives here and to dissuade ding-a-lings who believe such nonsense from attempting to “prove” otherwise. I also think (before venturing there myself), that this route is an access portal for ATV’s, motorbikes and Jeeps to drive into the woods all around the Metacomet Trail to the west and ruin things for those of us who just hike. We’ll see.
Approach One (Long Swamp Road, via Google Streetview):
From the east from Long Swamp Road is one approach. Starting on the east side of I-84, you pass a whole bunch of rather depressing abandoned housing projects behind chain-link fencing. I don’t know what ultimately did these joints in, but New Britain would be well-served if they are someday able to get rid of these.
[Real time update: I drove here today, in April 2010, and this is now a grass lot with roads and road signage.]
[Future Time update: There's a giant, gleaming magnet school here now.]
Approaching the bridge over the highway, I must wonder why this car is parked here, but it also looks like we’re crossing into a central American country rather than Plainville, CT.
Continuing west across the interstate, you can easily see how this gets sort of creepy really fast. The road turns to crap, becomes very skinny, and the plants begin overgrowing the road immediately.
Continuing west, the road passes a perfectly fine house but then begins to further earn its reputation shortly thereafter. The road is very overgrown and shoddy, and the “houses” become a bit smaller. Several trailers with lots of abandoned cars on blocks and the like. But, certainly no “tiny pygmy” houses here at all. Full grown up houses and trailers in which normal people live.
Strangely, and adding to the mystery of the area, Street View comes to a stop very near a couple fairly large houses right alongside Long Swamp Road, just before the road turns south. Why? I don’t know. Did the Pygmies have the Street View images removed? Hmmm….
[Real time update: The road disappears after the first house and becomes a muddy slog up the hill, and I didn't bother with it in the Jetta.]
Checking the satellite image of the area, there certainly appear to be a few more structures south of where the Google images ceased. Pygmy Village? The excitement builds…
[RTU - No, just old busses and cars, actually.]
Approach Two (North Mountain Road in New Britain):
Okay people, what’s scarier than village full of evil pygmies? That’s right… The New Britain DMV. And that’s where our journey begins from the south side of the mythical village. So you see, it’s not like we’re venturing to parts unknown! The DMV is right here, a mere minute or two from the place in question. Of course, the DMV is a bit of a Twilight Zone in its own right.
Travel up the hill and across I-84 via another sort of weird bridge to nowhere with overgrowth and trash and stuff, where the road becomes half as skinny once on the other side. You can see how this road gets its reputation I guess.
Through the thick woods and past the trash lining the road. Obviously kids come up here to be stupid, as there are several turnoffs along the way, near a bunch of fields and whatnot. Yup, this place definitely has the perfect makings for a local urban legend.
[RTU - All just no dumping signs along with a bunch of "Area under 24 hour surveillance" signs - seriously.]
And large flat spaces with light poles? Hmm, these are things I’ll definitely be investigating thoroughly when I make the drive. Of course, I already know that the whole top of this hill was a Nike Missile base back in the 1950’s and now there is some quarrying up there.
[RTU - the lightpoles were actually along streets from what looked like an old parking lot or something. Weird.]
That’s right, a Nike Missile base. The Metacomet Trail hikes right up and over some of the launch pads a little ways west of here, seen on the large satellite photo below.
[Our Metacomet Section through this area and some detailed info on the old missle base and Hospital Rock, which isn’t on the satellite image, but it’s close enough – and explains its tenuous position a bit more clearly.
Some of the weird things we saw that day now make a little more sense. The abandoned car parts, the 2 stroke engine sounds off to our east that day…
The road becomes Loon Lake Road at some point, I think when it officially crosses into Plainville, and then apparently changes back to North Mountain Road where the houses start.
[RTU - the road up the hill is in abysmal shape. Really and truly awful.]
Ah yes, the houses. No, not tiny freaky little people houses, but rather large, perfectly liveable houses. Granted, the road weirdly nearly drive through their living rooms for some reason, but there is absolutely no reason for people to think hellbent pygmies live up here.
But then the same strange thing happens as happened coming from the other direction: Street view just stops cold, right in front of a house.
[RTU - We got to the end and had to do a K-Turn. I felt like an absolute jackass especially since a bunch of guys were staring out me from their deck.]
You can see the road clearly continues north to – possibly and hopefully – Long Swamp Road. But I won’t truly know until I drive it myself.
[RTU - No, it doesn't. I am convinced there isn't even any small buildings/houses up there... But you'll read below that other's swear there are...]
There are no pygmies in Plainville or New Britain. As you can see, this road is sketchy and with all the legitimate Keep Out signage (Missile base, quarry) and the legitimate “Keep Out” from those who live up there trying to retain their privacy.
Also, the very strange geography of the road adds to the “charm.” It’s a crappily maintained looping dead-end on the other side of I-84 where no other roads are at all. It’s partly New Britain, mostly Plainville. It’s a great spot to hike into the woods from and engage in debauchery. There are a few perhaps eccentric seeming residents up there living in trailers who probably yell at all the idiot kids who get drunk up there. The road is tiny (not the houses) and skims the siding of several houses for some odd reason. It’s called Loon Lake Road. Maybe there used to be a bunch of small buildings from the missile base.
In other words, Pygmy Village exists because it’s the perfect nexus of all things that make a great local version of an urban legend.
In the end: Leave the people up there alone and stop looking for scary pygmies.
Below are some chosen posts from various online forums discussing Pygmy Village. I actually went up there and saw absolutely nothing to warrant the urban legend. So some people below are lying, or Hoang and I are blind. (Yes, she was with me. I love her.)
Now, a couple comment that the road circles around past the last houses on Street View. Well, I wasn’t about to continue up that road because, well, it ceased being a road! If something is beyond those last Street View houses, then I’ve failed you as a gatherer of information… Who knows, if someone convinces me to do it, maybe I will, but only with permission.
i went up there lastnight around 1130 it was scary i thought the road would be all paved but it turns to dirt after the bridge when i got up to the small village there was a no trespass sign i could hear wispers outside ..it was creepy but its true there are small ppl there they throw rocks
a friend told me that a long time ago when immigrants were settling in NB there was some sort of consruction site there and they hired a bunch of sicilian immigrants. since they were all very short, the houses the company built for them to live in were small and everyone called them pygmies.
Yea i went up there with my friends on bieks at like 6:00 pm and there was a big man with a little woam with a pitbull stareing at me and we kept rideing the bikes and it was very scary and we ended up crossin the field cuz little ppl were following us so we went in the woods and ended in stonegates
I grew up in New Britain and we used to call it Munchkin land because the houses and people were small and there was a Dunkin Donuts over there. Don’t be fooled this place is very real.
There are 7 seven houses at the end of Loon Lake road. The houses have been there for over 70 years and normal people live in them. They drive American cars and like their privacy just like everyone else. Several of home owners own a large amount of acreage in the woods in addition to the homes.
I have lived in NB my whole life and I have heard so many rumors about it. I went up there several times as a teenager.The houses and doors are small, You have to drive in a circle to see all of the houses, you can see into the windows but will never see anyone inside, not even a cat or dog. Weird!
I grew up in NB and am familiar with ‘Pygmy Village’ at the end of N. Mountain Rd. The location is an old Nike missile base from the Cold War.The houses were built for the workers at the base. Legend has it ‘pygmies’ would block the road and throw rocks at your car at night. Fun story but no pygmies
I was in one of these houses years back. Definitely made for little people. Had to duck your head through doorways. Counter tops built really really low. I’m under 6 feet and felt like a giant walking around.
I am a local Realtor and I can confirm that there is no Pygmy Village. I know the owner of the homes and rent them out. Normal people live there. No pigmys. The houses are older homes between 1000-1500 sw ft.
I know when growing up we heard the rumors about pygmy village and drove up there to see them. Never saw any though. While i was there the other day someone drove by and snapped a picture! Its just a secluded wooded area. Nothing more. I actually have one for rent right now if anyone is interested! LOL~!
I have three friends that live up there. Supposedly back in the late 60s and into the 70s it actually was a village of little people. My father has confirmed this to me, but my father likes to mess with people a lot.
The houses are now in pretty bad shape and it’s more of a hicktown. I can confirm that there are no little people, pygmys, midgets, or anything else of that sort living up there. There is one asshole who’s pissed that his wife left him, one old hippy dude that is the fucking man, my friends who enjoy shooting stuff and collecting run down cars, a man and his daughter that is really attractive, two houses for rent, and maybe some others that I’m forgetting. The only odd thing that I’ve heard is that my friends have recently spotted a mountain lion (yes, an actual mountain lion) that they have nicknamed Fred Savage. Personally I think they were mistaken, but who knows?