Main attributes of this Native American place: In Tribal history; Landmark/landscape; Folklore.
The Pinnacle is the top of a small mountain in Warren, Connecticut that provides a panoramic view of Lake Waramaug, the second largest natural lake in the state and the location of the summer village of the historic Weantinock tribe. The Weantinock were a large, powerful tribe whose homelands extended from ca. present Cornwall and Kent on the north to at least Brookfield and New Fairfield on the south, Warren and Washington on the east, and into New York State on the west. Lake Waramaug, The Pinnacle, and the surrounding area formed an 18th century Weantinock reservation of about 20,000 acres, created in 1720 after the tribe lost most of their homelands to the south and west. Named Waramaug’s Reserve, or Ramaug, after the tribe’s charismatic and powerful grand sachem who brokered the deal, the land quickly passed into English hands after Waramaug’s death “under equally shady circumstances”. By 1756, the reservation had disappeared.
The trail leading to the Pinnacle takes you through diverse woodland, meadow and swamp habitats exploited by the local Indian communities for thousands of years, as demonstrated by the various archaeological sites on the landscape. The Pinnacle itself figures in local folklore as an indigenous spiritual locality, a huge patch of treeless, windswept bedrock atop one of the highest peaks in the region. To stand atop it is truly awe-inspiring. In the indigenous belief system, stone contained great spiritual power, or manitou, and high places were frequented by deities and other spirits. The caves and crevices in the bedrock were portals to the Underworld, another abode of supernatural beings. Indeed, the Pinnacle includes three large boulders that form a triangle pointing to true north and a semi-circle of stones. Stone cultural features are located on the hillside leading up to the peak as well. The peak also features Hebrew inscriptions – a mystery for over two hundred years until an old ledger was discovered at the Gunn Museum in Washington that detailed their production by a local Englishman, Ebenezer Beeman, in 1774!
Contributor: Lucianne Lavin
Franz L. Wojciechowski 1985, The Paugussett Tribes, An Ethnohistorical Study of the Tribal Interrelationships of the Indians in the Lower Housatonic River Area. Catholic University of Nijmegen, Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Hanny, Carol A. “The Pinnacle: New Preston, Connecticut”, http://www.schaghticoke.net/coltsfoot/skyweb/skywebpinnacle.html.