The Bones from the Well – East Windsor, Connecticut - Atlas Obscura

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The Bones from the Well

Warehouse Point Library
East Windsor, Connecticut

A replica of fossils believed to be the first scientifically-described dinosaur bones found in North America. 


While digging a well in East Windsor, Connecticut, in 1818, farmer Solomon Ellsworth, Jr. unearthed the fragmented fossil forelimbs and tail bones from an unknown creature. The term “dinosaur” had not yet been coined—it was first used by naturalist and paleontologist Sir Richard Owen in 1841. So Ellsworth and other people who observed the bones had no idea what sort of animal they could have come from.

But in 1885 Othniel Charles Marsh, a paleontologist from Yale’s Peabody Museum, examined the fossils and deduced that they were from a small sauropodomorph, a herbivorous ancestor of large, long-necked sauropods such as Apatosaurus. He dubbed the specimen Anchisaurus, which means “near lizard.”

The fossil bones were taken to the Yale Peabody Museum, where they still reside today. Some researchers believe that the “Bones from the Well” as the fossils are often called, were the first scientifically-documented dinosaur bones found in North America.

In 2007 a cast of the Anchisaurus forelimbs was put on display at the Library Association of Warehouse Point in East Windsor. Accompanying the specimen is a stylized wooden sculpture of the dinosaur created by artist Gordon E. Carter, which has become the logo for the library.

Know Before You Go


Parking is available in the lot at the Warehouse Point Library Association. The library is open from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. from Monday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.  

A small garden near the library's parking lot has a slab of stone with several dinosaur footprints visible on its surface.

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