Tuesday 1st November 1949
The 1,200-foot-long (365 meters long), West Rock Tunnel carrying Route 15 (Wilbur Cross Parkway) through West Rock Ridge in New Haven, Connecticut, the state’s first automobile tunnel, was opened to the public It was renamed Heroes Tunnel in 2003 to honor “heroes of all kinds” in the post-September 11 era.The change to the name was inspired initially by the heroic actions of a local man in February 1995, his name was John Willsher. While coming home from work he saw two boys had fallen through the ice of the Lilly Pond in New Haven, Connecticut which is a quarter mile from the Heroes Tunnel. Willsher jumped into the frozen water, saved the two boys but after they were out of danger he succumbed to a massive heart attack. In August 1995 the Governor of Connecticut John Rowland rededicated the pond to “Willsher’s Pond” in John Willsher’s honor and a monument was installed on Whalley Avenue near Exit 59 of the Wilbur Cross Parkway.