In 1741 John Lyman (1717-1763) purchased the first parcel of the land in Middlefield that his descendents would develop and that is part of Lyman Orchards today. John’s great-grandson, David Lyman II (1820-1871) was a prosperous farmer who did much to develop the Town of Middlefield. He co-founded the Metropolitan Washing Machine Company and brought the Air Line railroad to Middlefield. In 1859 David Lyman II added a rear wing to a c. 1785 house, built on the property by his grandfather, David Lyman I. In 1862 he removed the 1785 house and the following year began construction of a new home on the site, completed in 1864. Designed by New Haven architect Rufus G. Russell, the new Lyman Homestead maintained a Georgian-type form but elaborated with the stylistic elements of the Italianate country villa and Gothic Revival cottage. The house, at 5 Lyman Road in Middlefield, has continued to be owned by the Lyman family and since 2000 has been available to rent for events.
The Glastenbury Knitting Company (which, like the town where it was founded, later changed the spelling of its name to “Glastonbury“) was founded in 1855 by Addison L. Clark. The company produced men’s wool underwear (long johns, called “union suits” during the Civil War), reaching its peak during World War I when it produced 400,000 pairs for the U.S. army. Having acquired the Eagle Manufacturing Company woolen mills in Glastonbury 1855, the company built its first mill (c. 1860), just upstream on Salmon Brook, at the outlet to a small mill pond called Addison Pond. A fire in 1892 destroyed part of the mill, but Clark soon rebuilt and in 1897, a year after his death, the surrounding mill village of Eagleville was renamed Addison in his honor. The mill itself was expanded over the years, until about 1910. The company went out of business in 1936, during the Great Depression. The old mill was later used as a warehouse, but in 2005 it was acquired by developers who have converted it into upscale apartments under the name Addison Mill Apartments. The developers recreated a tower, destroyed by fire in the late 1930s, that had stood at the building’s western end. The new tower serves as a stairwell.
Warren Doolittle (1813-1870), who ran a farm and was secretary and treasurer of the Cheshire Manufacturing Company, was one of Cheshire’s wealthiest citizens. One of two houses he owned on West Main Street in Cheshire was an Italianate villa (345 West Main Street) that was built c. 1860.
Henry Skinner was a wheelwright who owned a sawmill and gristmill on Pocotopaug Stream in East Hampton. In the 1850s, he built a Greek Revival house at 66 Skinner Street, across the street from his mills. He sold the house in 1867, the same year he completed a new and larger house, built in the Italianate style at 70 Skinner Street. His new house remained in his family until 1919, when it was divided into apartments.
The Stiles Curtis House is located at 3 Park Street across from the Green in Norwalk. It was built in 1832 and updated in 1869 (the Nomination for the Norwalk Green Historic District lists a date of 1853). A merchant, Stiles Curtis (1805-1882) was a Warden of the Borough of Norwalk (1845-1853) and President of the Bank of Norwalk (1875-1892).
At the confluence of Bigelow Brook and the Hockanum River in Buckland, Manchester is a former factory complex known as Hilliard Mills. Aaron Buckland had a woolen mill on the site by 1794 (and perhaps as early as 1780). The mill provided blankets for soldiers in the War of 1812. As related in the first volume of The Textile Industries of the United States (1893), by William R. Bagnall:
We have no information concerning the mill or its business after the war till 1824, in which year, on the 20th of September, Aaron Buckland sold the property to Andrew N. Williams and Simon Tracy, of Lebanon, Conn. Williams & Tracy operated the mill less than four years and sold it, March 13, 1828, to Sidney Pitkin, also of Lebanon. Mr. Pitkin owned the mill, alone, till July 31, 1832, on which date he sold an interest in the property of one fourth to Elisha E. Hilliard, one of his employes. They operated the mill nearly ten years till April 26, 1842, when Mr. Pitkin sold the remaining three fourths to his partner, Mr. Hilliard.
Elisha Edgarton Hilliard sold one-fourth to Ralph E. Spencer in 1849, but he was sole owner again by 1871. The company made blankets and clothing for the Union Army during the Civil War. A small manufacturing village called Hilliardville (see pdf article) once existed near the mill.
After E. E. Hilliard‘s death in 1881 his son, Elisha Clinton Hilliard, ran the company. E. C. Hilliard moved his family to Woodland Street in Hartford in 1890 while his unmarried sisters, Maria Henrietta and Adelaide Clementine, continued to live in Hilliardville. E.C. Hilliard’s daughter, Charlotte Cordelia, married Lucius B. Barbour. They lived at the Barbour House on Washington Street in Hartford and summered at their cottage in Fenwick. E.C. Hillard’s son, Elisha Earnest Hilliard, ran the mill after his father’s death.
The mills closed in 1940 and were afterwards used by other manufacturers, including United Aircraft Corporation during World War II and Bezzini Brothers, furniture manufacturers. The surviving mill buildings are currently being redeveloped for business and commercial uses.
Pictured above is Hilliard Mills Building #2, which was built in 1895 by E. C. Hilliard. The building has irreplaceable long-grain yellow pine beams and birds-eye rock maple flooring. Read the rest of this entry »
Bradley, Hoyt & Co. constructed a textile mill in South Britain, on the east bank of the Pomperaug River (modern address: 24 Hawkins Road) in 1866. Two-story additions were later made to the original four-story mill. In 1901 the building was taken over by the Hawkins Manufacturing Company, makers of animal traps and other metal products. In 1895, the Hawkins Company, makers of tacks and buttons, had merged with the Blake and Lamb Company, animal trap manufacturers. The factory was powered by a nearby dam, part of which was knocked down in the Flood of 1955. The factory operated into the 1960s.