East Rock, New Haven, Connecticut, painted by George Henry Durrie, 1840s
Rock of Gibraltar as the Prudential Insurance symbol
East Rock in New Haven, Connecticut looms just north of our area of focus for the Mill River planning initiative. As we have worked with Stoss to understand the larger ecological and geological history of the area, we have unearthed a fascinating story that includes Eli Whitney, the iron in Basalt that turns the rock a rusty red, and the iconic presence of East Rock on early views and maps of New Haven. East Rock is a butte – “a conspicuous isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top”. As a result, buttes are strong visual forms and important landmarks. Perhaps East Rock can re-emerge as a symbol of New Haven – a visual brand that can partly disengage the larger culture of the City from the overwhelming influence of Yale.