The complex of buildings along the Farmington River at 37 Mill Street in Unionville were once the factory of the Upson Nut Company. The company, which produced nuts and bolts, was founded by Andrew S. Upson (1835-1911), as described in his obituary in The Iron Trade Review, Vol. XLVIII, No. 14 (April 6, 1911):
After receiving his early education in public and private schools, he entered business on his own account. He bought a stock of nuts and bolts made by his brother-in-law, Dwight Langdon, in his shops at Farmington, and with horse and wagon sold his goods throughout New England. Finally he was engaged as regular salesman by Langdon. Upon the death of Langdon, in 1860, Mr. Upson and George Dunham bought the works, adding improved machinery. In 1863 a company formed including Messrs. Upson and Dunham, Samuel Frisbie, Dr. William H. Sage and Gilbert J. Hines, to purchase a patented hot forged nut machine, and in 1864 they organized the Union Nut Co. to manufacture hot forged nuts. In 1865, Mr. Upson purchased Mr. Dunham’s interests and in 1866 he sold out to the Union Nut Co., of Unionville, Conn.
In 1872 the Union company established a western branch in Cleveland, in partnership with the Aetna Nut Co., of Southington, Conn., and the Lamson & Sessions Co., of Cleveland, the organization being known as the Cleveland Nut Co., and erecting a large factory there. By 1877 the interests of the other partners had been purchased by the Union Nut Co., and in 1883, by act of the Connecticut legislature, the name was changed to the Upson Nut Co., the capital being increased finally to $300,000. In 1890 the Upson company absorbed the bolt works of Hotchkiss & Upson, Cleveland, and of Welch & Lea, of Philadelphia. Mr. Upson was elected president and treasurer of the company Sept. 3, 1864, and held the former office until his death. In 1866 he resigned the treasurership and was succeeded by Samuel Frisbie, who held this office and that of secretary until his death in 1897. In 1889, Mr. Upson removed his residence to Cleveland and from that time forward the Cleveland end of the company became the more important, although the works at Unionville have been maintained.
A gable-roofed brick building (c. 1860) is the oldest on the site, while another long flat-roofed building [pictured above] (29 Mill Street, c. 1870) has a facade enhanced by a stepped parapet. The buildings were later owned by the Pioneer Steel Ball Company (established in 1946), but they had been vacant for twenty years when restoration work began in 2013 to develop them for commercial and residential use.
The factory building at 52 Main Street in Manchester was erected in 1904 by Frank Goetz, owner of a large commercial bakery he had established in the late nineteenth century south of Depot Square. Goetz erected the brick masonry structure to replace an earlier wood frame building that had housed his bakery until it was destroyed by fire in 1902. This earlier building is probably the one mentioned in a notice in the Building New Supplement, Vol. IX, no. 8 (August 25, 1888):
Frank Goetz, proprietor of the Vienna bakery, has broken ground for a commodious building for business purposes on Main street, at the corner of Hilliard street.
The wood structure burned on February 17, 1904, during the most severe snowstorm of the season. Almost as soon as the new building was finished, Goetz sold the property to the Carlyle Johnson Machine Company, manufacturers of friction clutches and marine gears, and moved his bakery to New Haven. Carlyle Johnson later moved to Bolton.
The building which now serves the Town Hall of Bozrah was built in the mid-nineteenth century (between 1832 and 1865). Its original owner was Asa Fitch, who owned the local mill and was expanding the mill village of Fitchville at the time. The building was once used as a sericulture plant and then as a recreation center for mill workers. It was acquired by the town in 1949. In 2010-2012, the Town Hall underwent an extensive renovation, in which it was completely gutted and rebuilt on the inside and an addition placed on one corner.
A group of buildings surviving from the J & E Stevens Company manufacturing complex can be found on the north side of Nooks Hill Road in Cromwell. The J. & E. Stevens Company was formed in 1843 by brothers John and Elisha Stevens. The company, which operated into the mid-twentieth century, is noted for its manufacture of cast iron toys, especially mechanical iron banks and cap pistols. On the left in the image above, at the corner of Shadow Lane, is the earliest surviving Stevens factory building, a white-painted brick structure, which later served as the main office building (it once had a cupola, since removed). The adjacent brick structures to the right were erected sometime later in the nineteenth century: the Assembly Building (white-painted brick, center) and the Pattern Shop (unpainted brick, right). Across Nooks Hill Road is the factory‘s former 1865 foundry building (not pictured), which has been much added to over the years. Other structures that were part of the complex have since been torn down. The buildings above are now home to Horton Brasses, 49 Nooks Hill Road.
Part of the Cheney Silk Mill village in South Manchester is the former Ribbon Mill at 150 Pine Street. Built in two phases between 1907 and 1909, it housed the first turbine engine in Manchester. Beginning in 1936, Manchester Modes, makers of ladies’ fashions, rented and later purchased the mill. Today the building is Ribbon Mill Apartments. Read the rest of this entry »
In the nineteenth century the area of Baileyville in Middlefield was an active industrial district. The building at 93 Baileyville Road was probably constructed around 1850 as an outbuilding for one of the mills along Ellen Doyle Brook. In 1876 it was converted into a residence by George W. Miller to house an employee of his phosphate mill. In 1921 it was purchased by the Lyman Gun Sight Corporation to house factory workers and their families.
Thompsonville in Enfield was once home to a substantial carpet manufacturing industry. In 1901, the Hartford Carpet Company of Enfield merged with the E.S Higgens & Company of New York to form the Hartford Carpet Corporation. Expansion followed and in c. 1902-1905 the company built a large mill building for the production of Axminster, a type of tufted-pile carpet. Located at the southern end of the factory complex, the Axminster Building is a four-story structure with a strong structural system to contain the many massive broadlooms required for production of Axminster. The building’s east end was once a common wall shared with the Color House, which has since been demolished. A new Axminster building was constructed in 1923. By that time the Hartford Carpet Corporation had merged with the Bigelow Carpet Company of Clinton, Massachusetts to form the Bigelow-Hartford Carpet Company (1914). Today the former carpet mill complex has been converted into the Bigelow Commons apartments. Read the rest of this entry »