The Olga and Hayes Q. Trowbridge Fund
The Trowbridge family has a long history in New Haven. Family members came to New Haven in the colony's earliest years and the city and family developed a strong bond as mutual benefactors and protectors."...The park system Mr. Trowbridge was so instrumental in developing will not topple if the men who follow him show the same dedication of purpose."
The Trowbridge family has a long history in New Haven. Family members came to New Haven in the colony's earliest years and the city and family developed a strong bond as mutual benefactors and protectors. The colony's farms, rivers, and woods produced the goods that Trowbridge vessels shipped, while Trowbridge ships added to the commercial life of New Haven's port. By the Revolution there were already several Trowbridge men in the New Haven area, and Trowbridge vessels served as privateers capturing hostile British schooners.
Hayes Quincy Trowbridge was born in New Haven in 1875, into the family some of whose members had been either memorialized in the windows of Center Church or buried in its crypt. His parents, Ezekiel Hayes Trowbridge, Jr. and Katherine L. Quincy Trowbridge, sent him to Hopkins and after graduating from Yale he joined his cousin Winston in managing the family finances. An avid naturalist and horseman, Trowbridge's New Haven home at 100 Edgehill Road and his Madison country house both had stables for horses.
Hayes Trowbridge served the city as Parks Commissioner from 1919 to 1957. When he resigned from the Parks Commission, Mayor Richard C. Lee saluted his service saying, "His contributions to this community have been such that his name is synonymous with the Parks Commission." During his years as Commissioner Trowbridge sponsored public projects that included park tours, holiday carol parties, and special lunches. He also served as a Proprietor of the New Haven Green, but East Rock seems to have been Hayes Trowbridge's favorite park.
When Trowbridge died in 1965, a New Haven Register editorialist wrote of him, "New Haven, for a city its geographical size and population, has one of the finest park systems in the nation. The man largely responsible for the number and quality of our parks, Hayes Q. Trowbridge, is dead…Many monuments built by man have been destroyed by time. The park system Mr. Trowbridge was so instrumental in developing will not topple if the men who follow him show the same dedication of purpose." His wife Olga M. Trowbridge died four years later. Her will provides for the Hayes Q. Trowbridge Trust with the expectation that it would be used for permanent improvements to East Rock Park in honor of her husband.
In 1996, The Foundation awarded $258,000 to the city's Parks Commission for the construction of the Hayes Q. Trowbridge Environmental Center at College Woods in East Rock Park. The environmental center opened three years later and offers a thorough orientation to East Rock's wildlife, geology, and history. The Trowbridge Environmental Center introduces New Haven's kayakers, Cub Scout troops, bird watchers, dog walkers, and families with young children to a park that Hayes Q. Trowbridge helped preserve for their enjoyment and for generations to come.