Happy Landings

Happy Landings Protected Open Space is a town-owned parcel of protected open space located along Whisconier Road (Route 25) in Brookfield, CT.

The view from Route 25 of the open fields has not changed since before the revolutionary war.  The wells below the windmills were dug in 1890.  These fields and windmills have become one of the last remaining symbols of Brookfield’s rural character.

The old farmhouse (not located on town property) was a tavern.  Locals called the road in front of it “Whiskey-Near Road”, which later became Whisconier (Route 25).

During the WWI era, John Benya migrated to the US with literally the closes on his back.  John met his future wife (Francis) while being processed through Ellis Island.  He started working in Yonkers, NY in a mill, but developed TB.  He was told that living on a farm (Drinking fresh hilk) was the odnly way he would be able to beat the disease. He moved to Brookfield in the early 1920’s and started farming.  The farmhouse basement was hand dug and a cannonball that was found while digging is believed to have been fired by British cannons.

The farm was named “Happy Landings” by John Benya’s son Steve Benya.  Steve saw Charles Lindbergh in the Spirit of St. Louis fly over the farm shortly before his historic Atlantic crossing on May 20, 1927.  Steve Benya was so inspired, he went on to a career in aviation.   He flew aircraft for the airline manufacturer McDonnell Douglas.

The Benya family wanted to preserve this beautiful landmark property and offered to sell it to the town of Brookfield in 1998 as open space.  The Town then purchased the property in 1999.  The property consists of 55 acres of open fields and approximately 19 acres of woodlands.  Its combination of rich soils, aquifer watershed with varied grasses, wetlands and hardwood forest make it an ideal environment for a multitude of flora and fauna.  Water is provided by an existing spring-fed pond and brook.