If you’re ever driving alongside the Willimantic River and you happen to notice a large frog sitting on the top of what looks like a spool of thread, or a couple of them, you’re either very tired or you’ve arrived at Frog Bridge.
Willimantic, Connecticut used to be known as Thread City because the American Thread Company had a mill here and it was once one of the largest producers of thread in the world.
The frogs are for something else entirely. They don’t have anything to do with the thread.
An event during the French and Indian War, back in 1754, is the purpose for those big frog sculptures. Hearing a frightening cacophony of heaven knows what one night, the villagers grabbed their flintlocks expecting to fend off an Indian Attack.
There was nothing. Nothing but the wild noises from a wilderness.
The next morning they discovered the horrific noise was caused by hundreds upon hundreds of frogs who were battling over water in a nearby dried up pond. The survivors of this Battle of Frog Pond as it came to be known, hipity-hopped down to the Willimantic River, and one presumes, with much relief to all, frogs and people.
In the late 1990s when it was time for a new bridge, these sculptures of frog and thread were plunked as proud symbols of Willimantic’s history, and maybe Willimantic’s sense of humor. Their ancestors might have been frightened out of their beds by the froggy battle, but their descendents got a new four-lane bridge, and the last laugh.