Seth Thomas (1785-1859) established his famous clock company in Plymouth Hollow (later renamed Thomaston in his honor) in 1813, buying out Heman Clark’s clockmaking business there. Thomas had previously worked with Eli Terry and Silas Hoadley in Plymouth. The company continued to expand during his lifetime and after his death, becoming one of America’s longest lived clock companies. The main Seth Thomas Clock Company building, which succeeded earlier structures, was built in 1915 (Note: I determined the date of the factory’s construction from a Sanborn Insurance map.). Located on South Main Street in Thomaston, it is a sprawling complex that was added to over the years. In 1931 the company became a division of General Time Instruments Corporation, later known as General Time Corporation. From World War II until 1967, the factory also made marine timing and navigational devices for the military as a defense plant. The factory was severely damaged in the Flood of 1955, but reopened the following year. In 1970, the company was taken over by Talley Industries of Seattle, Washington, which closed the Thomaston plant and moved all operations to Norcross, Georgia in 1979-1982. The old factory soon reopened as an industrial park for various small manufacturers.
At 67 Union Street in Thomaston is an elaborate Queen Anne-style house built in 1884. It is named for David Plume, Treasurer of the Plume and Atwood Manufacturing Company, which produced lamps and supplied brass for Seth Thomas clocks. The house served as living space for various mangers of the brass mill. It was owned by the company until 1914, when it was sold to a company stockholder, Leslie E. Blackmer.
Methodism in Thomaston goes back to 1818, with the first congregation being formed in 1820. The first Methodist church building was a former Episcopal church, built in 1790. After the Civil War, with the aid of Aaron Thomas, president of the Seth Thomas Clock Company, and of his mother, Mrs. Seth Thomas, the current First United Methodist Church was constructed on land donated by Aaron Thomas. The cornerstone of the church was laid on June 11, 1866.
The Congregational Church in Plymouth Hollow (which would become the Town of Thomaston in 1875) was founded in 1837 and the congregation’s meeting house was built the following year. The First Congregational Church of Thomaston is a Greek Revival edifice located at 135 Main Street.
By the later 1860s, Academy Hall had become the place of Sunday Catholic worship in Plymouth Hollow, which later became the Town of Thomaston. St. Thomas Parish was established early in 1869 and the first resident pastor was appointed in 1871. A basement chapel opened in 1872, and the completed church was dedicated in 1876, built on land donated by Aaron Thomas, son of the clockmaker Seth Thomas. By the turn of the century, the growth of the parish led to the need for a larger church. The current church was built between 1906 and 1908 at the intersection of East Main and North Main Streets.
The Thomaston Railway Station, built in 1881, was part of the Naugatuck Railroad which began operations in September of 1849. The building served as a railway station until 1958, but then suffered from years of neglect and an arson fire in 1993. Since 1999, the station has been the home base of the Railroad Museum of New England, which now operates the Naugatuck Railroad, a scenic train ride between Waterville and Thomaston.
In 1880, the Laura Andrews Free Library and Benevolent Association was established in Thomaston with a gift from Seth E. Thomas, Jr. of New York in memory of his mother. A town library was established in 1898 and the Laura Andrews Free Library Association (as the Association had been renamed in 1882) loaned its library collection to the town. A building for the town library, designed by Griggs and Hunt, was constructed in 1900-1901 on land offered by Randall T. Andrews, a Thomas relative, worker at the Seth Thomas clock factory and an incorporator of the Laura Andrews Free Library Association. In 1906, Andrew Carnegie donated $1,700 to pay off the debt on the library building. In 1971, a new library building was constructed next to the old one. In the 1980s, the original Laura Andrews Library building was renovated as a children’s wing and connected to the 1971 structure.