The Wadsworth Legacy

Rockfall founder Clarence Seymour Wadsworth (1871-1941) was the son of Julius and Cornelia deKoven Wadsworth. He lived in New York and Middletown with his wife, and two sons first in the deKoven House and later in the mansion, which he built on his Long Hill Estate between 1909 and 1917. A Harvard-educated lawyer, he became a Colonel in the New York National Guard and a Major in the First Company, Governor’s Foot Guard of Connecticut.

Colonel Wadsworth’s environmental stewardship vision predated by nearly half a century the birth of the modern environmental movement. His desire to preserve open space and support community service flourished at a time when few voices raised questions regarding sustainability and “smart growth” of communities. He served Middletown as a member of the town Park Board and the Planning Commission, and served in the Connecticut General Assembly as a Senator from the 33rd District. As an active conservationist, he developed the parkland adjoining Long Hill Estate parkland and an arboretum of northeast forest tress bordering Long Lane.

In 1935 Wadsworth created The Rockfall Corporation to manage his family’s properties and financial holdings in Middletown and Middlefield for the benefit of the community. After his death in 1941, with support from Mrs. Wadsworth, Rockfall’s Board of Directors devoted considerable resources to the restoration and preservation of the deKoven House and to establish a community center for nonprofit organizations in Middlesex County in 1942 as a memorial to Colonel Wadsworth. Also in 1942 Rockfall donated 267 acres of Wadsworth’s woods and parkland in Middletown and Middlefield to the Connecticut State Park and Forest Commission, creating what is now known as Wadsworth Falls State Park.

In 1972 Rockfall initiated the grants and awards recognition programs, and in 1987 changed the organization name to The Rockfall Foundation to reflect its dedication to community service as a private, nonprofit charitable organization.