The Story of the Yawgoog Trails

Unofficial

Studio Farm

Total distance: 5.46 miles (8.79 kilometers) round-trip
Total hiking time: approximately 2 to 2.5 hours


Caution: Hikers should be very careful, by wearing at least 400 square inches (2,580 square centimeters) of blaze orange material, such as a vest, when hiking in the Pachaug State Forest during Connecticut's deer hunting season (September through December). Hunting is prohibited in Yawgoog. Hikers should also be careful to walk single-file on the left side of roads, facing oncoming traffic.

Starting from the Rhode Island-Connecticut border on Camp Yawgoog Road, the most direct route to the farm follows Green Fall Road and then Sand Hill Road. From the border, travel southwest on Green Fall Road and bear right (northwest) at the intersection with Denison Hill Road. The road soon crosses Green Fall River, where the blue-blazed Narragansett Trail approaches from the right (north) from Green Fall Pond. The Narragansett Trail overlaps the road uphill briefly, until it heads south from the road at a small parking area. Green Fall Road continues to climb uphill and becomes a paved road. Among corn fields, an intersection is reached, where Wheeler Road enters from the left (south). (The Narragansett Trail meets Wheeler Road 0.4 mile/0.6 kilometer from the intersection.) Green Fall Road heads west for a few yards and meets another intersection at a short zig-zag in the road in front of a farm house. The dirt Gallup Road heads north, while the paved road, now Sand Hill Road, continues west. The hike leads to Studio Farm at 5 Sand Hill Road, at the intersection with Route 49 (Voluntown Road).

Studio Farm derives its name from the fact that it was a silent film studio owned by director/actor/writer Joseph Byron Totten and his wife, actress Leslie Bingham. Filming did occur on the property with local residents as extras; Westerly, Rhode Island, was used as a setting for city scenes. The studio worked with stars of the day, such as Mary Pickford and Beverly Bayne, although it is not clear if they actually performed in Voluntown. Totten created films for the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company, the American Vitagraph Company and others (Christensen p.4; James pp. 30-31; Karr pp. 106, 108; Sheridan).

(image)
House at Studio Farm; the stone wall no longer exists.
(Sheridan p. 36)
Approximate coordinates: N 41° 31.201', W 71° 50.278' (Datum: WGS84)
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(portrait)
Joseph Byron Totten
(Sheridan p. 38)

(portrait)
Leslie Bingham
(Sheridan p. 38)

Today, Studio Farm is a working farm that produces organically grown berries and vegetables. A farm stand at the corner offers produce, jams, jellies, and other items for sale on the honor system. Hikers may return to Camp Yawgoog by going the way they came or, perhaps, by taking the Narragansett Trail.

(image)
Studio Farm sign, at the farmstand on Pendleton Hill Road
Image by David R. Brierley
Approximate coordinates: N 41° 31.208', W 71° 50.296' (Datum: WGS84)
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