Sunday, November 24, 2013

Plume & Atwood Dam

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:  What value could these old mill buildings possibly have? Friday's Waterbury Republican-American carried the news of their demolition.  A link at the end of this note connects to a short slide show of the demolition and some notes about the site's history.

The buildings, in Thomaston, were built before the Civil War by Seth Thomas for his clock company. Seth Thomas was a joiner and a pioneer manufacturer of wooden clocks. Affordable clocks were changing time, and by the 1850s the times demanded clocks of metal. My understanding is that the key building of the new site was a rolling mill to roll brass for Seth Thomas clocks.

The buildings had been decaying for years. One had fallen before I began photographing here, and another fell at the beginning of the summer. The end had been coming for many years.

I'm not privy to the plans for the site where the buildings stood, and there may be a wonderful vision I'll welcome, but I'm mindful of Henry James warning that it takes a lot of history to make a little tradition, and I'm aware that every brick in this old factory carried the measure of a bricklayer's hand. 

Places that connect the region to our Brass Valley past are quickly becoming as scarce  as ironworks in the hill towns. This mill, situated next to the Naugatuck Railroad Museum and with access to a beautiful riverfront and nearly adjacent to Thomaston restaurants, seems to me to be an opportunity sadly missed at the picturesque, historic mill town with the distinctive towers.