Infamous Battle of the Frogs: Bizarre Reason for Odd Statues in Willimantic, CT
A famous frog once said, "it ain't easy being green", or something like that. What does that quote have to do with this article? Only that it is about frogs and Kermit was and still is a frog. Anyway, if you make the over 2 hour journey to Eastern Connecticut from Brookfield to Willimantic, you will no doubt want to get a look at the huge frog sculptures at "The Frog Bridge" with its interesting and amusing history. Why frog sculptures you may ask? Well, we will get to that.
According to Connecticut History.Org, the bridge where the sculptures are located is officially named "Thread City Crossing" spanning the Willimantic River and was opened in 2000. It replaced an old stone bridge from 1857 that is now a garden walkway (pictured below) inside the Windham Mills Heritage Park. New England Historical Society tells us that the Willimantic section of Windham was a factory town with The American Thread Company, Connecticut's largest employer, on the banks of the Willimantic River. Hence the name, "Thread City" and "Thread City Crossing."
The sculptures are made of bronze and were sculpted by Leo Jensen as part of a design for the new bridge that was formulated in the 1990s. Each frog is perched on top of a giant spool of thread for the whole "Thread City" thing they have going on. That part makes sense, the spool, but why frogs? Glad you asked that question.
Here's where the good part is and we go back to Connecticut History.ORG. Legend has it, around 1754, the famous Windham Frog Fight (or Flight) took place. After nightfall, during the month of June when all the Windham citizens were snug in their beds, they would hear a disturbing noise coming from the woods. They weren't sure what it was and their minds ran rampant with imaginings of all kinds of things including rampaging warring people to the trumpets of "Judgement Day." A few brave dudes came out with their muskets and fired in the direction of the sounds to deter whatever was out there, but the sounds persisted throughout the night.
As night became day, the people of Windham could finally see what was tormenting their night's sleep. In the weeks leading up to June, the area had been going through drought conditions and the only standing water left was a small pond. Every frog from Connecticut seemed to have found that one last bastion of liquid and were jostling and fighting each other to get some space. The remnants of the nightly bellows were a large number of frog corpses all over the place giving way to the legend and tradition of the "Frog Fright from a Frog Fight."
There is even a mention of the Frog Bridge by Zippy the Clown. So there you have it, the legend of "The Battle of the Frogs" at The Frog Bridge in Willimantic, and thanks for hanging out, see you again very soon.