While writing this post I thought about creating a series on the history of waters in CT where I fish. This is the first.
Most rivers in CT, if not all, have an industrial past to them. Some parts, like the PCBs in the Housatonic or other chemicals found in the Naugatuck, are reminders that we don’t want to repeat our past mistakes.
But sometimes the story, like the one below, shows us that these waters were once viewed and used much differently than we do today.
The Pomeraug River flows through South Britain, a section of Southbury. Settled in the early 18th century, South Britain is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While I rarely fish the Pomeraug, it’s clear that the buildings along the banks have lived several lives with varying rates of success.
According to the Southbury Historical Society, the building below used to be known as the Hawkins Factory. The tall part was built before the Civil War and made fabric for Union Soldiers’ uniforms. The building has had several add-ons over time. The most notable product produced there was animal traps. Most recently it made plastic items, like a lettuce spinner.
I’m guessing that the pulleys below were part of the manufacturing equipment, either hydro or electric powered.
There was a pile of these just outside the factory fence. All were rusted, most broken into pieces. I’m guessing saw blades. Wading in the general area, you will find large cut stones and old metal pipes in the water, remnants of the bridge and manufacturing history. Good habitat for the fish, but caution for the wading angler.
There was a bridge that went across to the peninsula and a red stone quarry. The bridge washed away in the great flood of 1955. This is what remains.
The area is serene and enjoyable to visit, even when I’m not fishing. This is a stark contrast to when it was in full production and employed part of the local population. I’m biased, but I like it better today, even with the rubble and debris accumulated over time.
Connecticut is rich in history, and its waters are no different. I’ll post more of these as opportunities arise. Enjoy!