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Journalist Exploring Route 44 Walks Through Canton Wednesday

July 16, 2014 Arts and Entertainment, Business, Outdoors 2 Comments
Dan Haar photographs a scene at The Junk Shop. In background is shop owner Eric Hathaway.  Photo by John Fitts

Dan Haar photographs a scene at The Junk Shop. In background is shop owner Eric Hathaway.
Photo by John Fitts

On Wednesday, Courant columnist Dan Haar walked the Canton stretch of Route 44 as part of a 106-mile journey through the state. The trip from Salisbury to Putnam began July 7 and is part of the newspaper’s 250th anniversary celebration. 

“Among the roads that cross the entire state, Route 44 best tells the story of Connecticut’s diversity, heritage and modern issues,” Haar wrote in the introductory column for the Explore 44 series. 

Canton Compass caught up to Haar as he was finishing a quick bite at Reno’s Drive-In and then made his way to Canton Green area of Route 44, stopping along the way to photograph an iconic 1931 International Pick-Up at Fast Lane Auto Repair.

At The Green, Haar noted that a modern office building across the road seems out-of-place in an area where historic homesteads thrive, some as homes and many as businesses. To document the notion, he took a short video on his iPad. Haar continued to the Junk Shop and talked to owner Eric Hathaway before proceeding to speak to his wife Kim Hathaway at The Blue House a few buildings away.

In addition to a few humorous remarks about contrasts in business styles of husband and wife, conversations touched on the character of development, ideas showcased during the recent design charrette, ghost stories and more.

Haar then continued down Route 44 and walked to Staples in Simsbury, where he car was parked. During this portion of the trip he’s able to go home to West Hartford at night but each day will begin where he left off.

Haar had some observations about Canton, including its attempt to develop in a way that maintains character and minimizes the generic strip-mall approach.

“Canton is a a town that is trying to have orderly development,” he said.

At the same time, Haar said his goal is certainly not to try and define each town.

“It’s really about telling stories,” he said.

Haar first pitched the idea to walk Route 44 in 1998 but said the timing was never right until now. He said he’s behind schedule but really loves talking to people.

“It’s a lot of fun to be out there,” Haar said.

Haar is staying up late at night to write and said it might be a couple of days before he publishes columns on the Canton portion. Track all of the entries at  http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/courant-250/moments-in-history/explore-44/ or  follow him through the twitter hashtag #explore44

 

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Photos from the walk

Dan Haar talks to Kim Hathaway, owner of The Blue House.  Photo by John Fitts

Dan Haar talks to Kim Hathaway, owner of The Blue House.
Photo by John Fitts

Dan Haar takes a photo of the 1931 International at Fast Lane Auto Repair.  Photo by John Fitts

Dan Haar takes a photo of the 1931 International at Fast Lane Auto Repair.
Photo by John Fitts

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