By Jessica D’Aniello Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — The town’s origin story centers on a young Narragansett Indian named Tobe who was enslaved in 1676 by one of the first white men to live in the area. After Col. Ebenezer Johnson freed Tobe in 1688, Tobe purchased back his own land, much of which later would become the town of Beacon Falls.
The legend of Tobe is one of the many stories of local history retold by town historian Michael A. Krenesky in his recently published book, “History, Legends & Myths of Beacon Falls.”
“It’s trying to put together a book that people will read, hopefully enjoy, and hopefully learn something,” Krenesky said.
Krenesky’s book reveals the history behind Matthies Park, High Rock Grove, and the Rimmon Schoolhouse as well as some of the town’s legends, including the one about the High Rock Serpent that crawls out of the High Rock cave twice a year and a tale of a “Che-Wa-Wale” that terrorizes the people near the Naugatuck River.
The book is loaded with photographs and devotes many pages earliest years of the town as well as the businesses that sparked the town’s growth.
Krenesky has had an interest in the town since he was a young boy. Growing up, his father, also Michael Krenesky, was the first municipal historian of Beacon Falls which was then handed down to Krenesky after his father passed.
Krenesky’s father wrote “My Beacon Falls,” which inspired Krenesky to write “History, Legends & Myths of Beacon Falls.”
Krenesy spent a few years gathering information for his book, including some from his father’s book, archived newspaper articles and internet searches. When choosing the contents of “History, Legends & Myths of Beacon Falls,” Krenesky wanted to write a book that was entertaining and would answer a lot of people’s questions about Beacon Falls.
“I picked the things I hear people talk about. The one comment that made me put more about the Rubber Shoe Co. was that people said they don’t understand why the shoe company is so important.”
The book was published by Arcadia Publishing as part of its “Legends and Lores” series.
Krenesky said understanding history helps to understand our present and our future. He said “History, Legends & Myths of Beacon Falls” is helpful for the Beacon Falls residents to reconnect with their town’s history.