Municipalities team up to rename brook

The Town of Bristol

Bristol City Council and the Burlington Board of Selectmen announced in April that each body unanimously endorsed an effort to remain “Negro Hill Brook” to “Pigeon Hill Brook.”

“We believe Pigeon Hill Brook would be a better name. Pigeon Hill Brook would be complementary to the adjacent Pigeon Hill,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu in a press release. “As the stream connects Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Session Woods Wildlife Management Area, the Barnes Nature Center, Seymour Park, and the Water Department Watershed, the name of Pigeon Hill Brook ties all these places to Pigeon Hill.”

The brook was originally named “Negro Hill” decades ago,.said the city press release It originates near Gilbert Lane in Burlington and flows southeast into Bristol. The stream flows through Seymour Park and passes Pigeon Hill until it runs into the Copper Mine Brook.

The effort to rename the brook originated when the two municipalities began cooperating with the Environmental Learning Center of Connecticut to secure an open space grant from the state with the goal of acquiring land off of Shrub Road to expand the nature preserve.

Pigeon Hill is part of the 70 acre Barnes Nature Center, and was once a major habitat for thousands of passenger pigeons. To the mayor and first selectman, said the press release renaming the stream “Pigeon Hill Brook” seemed like an obvious choice.

Renaming a body of water requires approval from the United States Board of Geographic Names, an office under the US Dept., of the Interior. The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments recently wrote a letter to this board encouraging them to approve the name change.

As of early April, the Board of Geographic Names had not approved the request, yet both municipalities strongly suspect the name will be approved.