Rhus Radicans Triumphant

RC deWinter

Fairfield, United States

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Artist's Description

*© 2009 RC deWinter ~ All Rights Reserved

A sturdy and persistent poison ivy plant flourishes in the cracks of this bricked-over window at Old Newgate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby, Connecticut.

Copper was discovered on what became known as Copper Hill in 1707, and a mine was established. The first copper coins in the English colonies were made from this copper in 1735. Mining operations ceased, and in 1773 the colony of Connecticut began using the property as a prison to incarcerate dangerous criminals.

Tory and Loyalist prisoners were also kept here during the Revolutionary War. In 1827 the prison was re-converted to a mine under a charter issued to the Phoenix Mining Company, but attempts to extract enough copper to succeed commercially failed.

The site was given to the state of Connecticut in 1968, and in 1976 Old Newgate Prison and Copper Mine was named a National Historic Landmark. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Connecticut.

Digital tempera from an original photograph shot in May 2007.*

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