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The Town That Learned to Crawl

Jonathan Starkes

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Having recently been asked to report on the local community, I took a while to review what I actually knew about my hometown, West Haven. I started by searching travel sites for reviews on this seemingly obscure town. During my inquiry, I uncovered some interesting facts about the city that you may find surprising…

For starters, did you know that West Haven was actually the first proposed site for Disney World? It’s a fact. West Haven’s own Savin Rock had become such a tourist attraction that the local beach front seemed ideal for what is now the most famous amusement park in the world. Another obscure fact: West Haven has more bars per square foot than any other city in the U.S. And who said UCONN was party central?

The websites also mentioned what many young West Haven residents already know about: the Campbell Crawl. For those of you new to the area and those locals who have lived under a rock their entire lives, the Campbell Crawl is a local challenge that does a great job promoting West Haven’s world famous bar to land ratio. The rules of the challenge are simple. Campbell Crawlers must do a shot of liquor and a glass of beer at every bar and tavern from one end of the infamous street to the other. This sounds easy until you realize there’s close to twenty bars total on Campbell Ave. An official Campbell Crawl cup is available for purchase from the last bar, Spectators, if, by then, you can manage to pull out your wallet.

Campbell Ave. actually has its own interesting history. The Campbell for which the street is named is a British Adjunct William Campbell, who was part of an invading force that landed at Savin Rock in 1779. His brief campaign in West Haven ironically ended where UNH now stands when during a fierce battle atop Allingtown Hill; Campbell was shot off his horse by a local farmer.

The British officer led a force on a reverse Campbell Crawl earlier that same day, beginning his journey at Savin Rock, eventually reaching UNH. Campbell was actually respected by local residents for rescuing the town’s preacher and keeping his troops relatively sober during their march. What better way to honor the respectable Revolutionary War hero than by establishing a local drinking contest that imitates his fated march down the street that bears his name? I guess that’s West Haven for ya’.

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the end of finals this semester why not take place in a local legend? Celebrate some history and have a few drinks while doing it.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
The Town That Learned to Crawl