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 »
Dating to 1857 (or perhaps as early as 1845 according to the nomination for the Hazardville Historic District) in the village of Hazardville in Enfield is the former Hazardville Hotel at 312 Hazard Avenue. The hotel was built and operated by Sylvester Charter. Today the building is used as retail space. Read the rest of this entry »
At 359 Hazard Avenue in Hazardville in Enfield is the former Hazardville Grammar School. The older section of the building, which was built in 1864, is in the rear. In the twentieth century (perhaps 1948?) the school lost its pedimented front pavilion and tower with a pyramidal roof, which were replaced by a two-story brick addition that became the building’s new front facade. Not used as a school after 1974, the building was later leased to the Y.W.C.A. and is today the Hazardville Daycare Center.
According to the sign on the house at 1346 Enfield Street in Enfield, it was “Built by Dr. Simeon Field, 1763.” Born in Longmeadow, Mass. in 1731, Dr. Field built the house in the same year he married Margaret Reynolds. According to Vol. I of the Field Genealogy (1901), by Frederick Clifton Pierce (a work dedicated to the famous Marshall Field of Chicago), Dr. Simeon Field
graduated at Yale College as a physician. He settled in Enfield, Conn., where he was very celebrated, and had an extensive practice. He also kept a tavern which is now, 1900, still standing, and is known as the old Field tavern. He also was an active and influential man during the Revolution, and during his time was easily the most important man in his town.
His son also became a doctor, as described in the fourth volume of Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History, July 1778-June 1792 (1907), by Franklin Bowditch Dexter:
Simeon Field, the eldest child of Dr. Simeon Field, of Enfield, Connecticut, and nephew of Dr. Samuel Field (Yale 1745), was born in Enfield on June 3, 1765. His mother was Margaret, daughter of the Rev. Peter Raynolds (Harvard 1720), of Enfield, and sister of Dr. Samuel Raynolds (Yale 1750). He joined College in May of the Freshman year.
He studied medicine with his father, and settled at first in Somers, the town next east of Enfield; but about 1790, on the decline of his father’s health, he returned to Enfield, where he became locally distinguished for his valuable professional services. Though not a member of the church, he was always a stable friend and supporter of the institutions of religion.
After a feebleness of several months he died in Enfield on March 1, 1822, in his 57th year. He left no descendants, and his property, inventoried at $6833, was divided between his brothers and sisters. The honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine was conferred on him by Yale College in 1817.
On Cottage Green in Enfield is a row of four small Gothic Cottages (46, 50, 54, 58 Cottage Green). Possibly designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, they are the survivors of a group of cottages that were erected for factory workers around the now built-over Cottage Green, which was once a grassy square with a fountain or well in the center. This is a less commonly found arrangement for worker tenements designed to appeal to skilled workers imported from abroad. They were built c. 1848 to house employees of the Enfield Manufacturing Company, a hosiery factory founded in 1845 by H. G. Thompson that failed in 1873, after which its property was purchased by the Hartford Carpet Company. A brochure entitled “Historic Enfield,” alternately claims that the houses were built c. 1830 for Scottish weavers employed at the Bigelow carpet mill. Actually, according to the nomination for the Bigelow-Hartford Carpet Mills Historic District, they were built for English-born workers and the earlier cottages, built by Thompson’s father Orrin Thompson for imported Scottish weavers, do not survive today. This type of housing recalls the “Potsdam” Cottages (featured on this last week!) built in 1859 by Samuel Colt in Hartford for imported German workers at his willow ware factory. Pictured above is the house at 50 Cottage Green in Enfield, which is presently more in need of work than its neighbors.
The Italianate villa-style house at 8 School Street, at the corner of Hazard Avenue in the Hazardville section of Enfield, was built in 1865 to serve as the home of the superintendent of the Hazard Powder Company. It is the largest house in the neighborhood.