Unusual facts about Silver Sands State Park
Hurricane Diane in 1955 led to the creation of Silver Sands State Park.
The state acquisition of Silver Sands, ultimately involved more than 300 parcels, after Diane destroyed 75 homes in 1955.
When the land transfers were complete in 1960, Silver Sands became the state’s fourth shoreline park.
One of the parcels taken over by the state was owned by Doris Gagnon.
Gagnon, remembered locally, but not always fondly, as the “Chicken Lady’’ became a folk hero in 1971, when the state took her small beach cottage through eminent domain and tore it down to make way for the park. An entire neighborhood was displaced, but Gagnon spurned the $15,000 the state paid her and instead moved onto the beach itself.
For the next 23 years, until her death in 1994, she lived in a trailer and raised chickens, collecting rainwater in barrels for drinking and bathing, resisting several attempts by lawyers and law enforcement to remove her.
Part of the park includes a former Milford dump that was open from the 1920s through 1977.
Several people have drowned walking on a sandbar to Charles Island. They drowned after misjudging the tides because the sandbar is underwater during high tide.
Capt. William Kidd, a privateer who supposedly visited Charles Island in 1699, buried treasure on the island.
Bill Clinton lived on East Broadway, near Silver Sands, while he was a law student at Yale University in 1970 and 71.
In December 2018, pig bones that washed up on the shores of the park were discovered.
Charles Island was originally known as Poquehaug. It was renamed Charles Island afrter Charles Deal bought the island in 1657.
The island was the location of a summer resort, a religious retreat and a fish fertilizer operation.
Some say the island is cursed. Some have alleged to have seen glowing ghosts and phantom figures among the trees.
Deer swim to Charles Island. In February 2011, three DEEP wildlife biologists hunted and killed about 17 malnourised deer living there. The hunt was needed, DEEP said at the time, to protect nesting birds and the fact that there was little food on the island for the deer.