Maxfield Brothers Garage
L to R: 1) Unknown. 2) Joseph Morin 3) Gene Roubillard 4) Henry Knight 5) Herb Maxfield 6) Monty Maxfield
Maxfield was one of the town’s earliest garages. They specialized in Ford, what else, and Studebaker. They also carried parts for bicycles. In addition to repairs, one could purchase gasoline, kerosene, various supplies, and (figuring prominently in the photographs) Coco-Cola. The garage was active in the teens and twenties, and possibly later. It was known as the brick garage and occupied the same space as the current Torrington Savings Bank in the center of New Hartford.
The NHHS archives have many interesting pictures in them. This photograph of a cream delivery wagon was taken in Nepaug around 1900. The church in the background gives us the location, but it is startling to think of Route 202 as such a small, narrow road. The horses look like they were probably a fast team, which would make sense for a dairy delivery.
It is a reminder of a different world, with door to door delivery of a highly perishable agricultural product, one which probably came from a local farm.
A few interesting things have come through the door in the past few months:
The Hitchcock Chair Dog from the 2005 Dog Dazes of New Hartford; the artist was Lori Sokolik Pagano and the sponsor was the Hitchcock Chair Company. Dog Dazes was a fundraiser using the popular format of painted fiberglass animals, in this case dogs. The dogs were painted by local artists and auctioned off, with the proceeds going to several local non-profits. The bench, with the life-size gun-dog or pointer standing on it, is in black and gold stencils that recall the Hitchcock chair patterns once made in Barkhamsted and New Hartford. The bench is, naturally, a Hitchcock bench. This item, and a poster showing all the other dogs that were created for the event, are currently on loan from Chris Jones.
Chris Jones has also loaned an 1859 topographic map of Litchfield County published by Clark’s of Philadelphia. The map is just about six feet tall and remarkably detailed for the era.
A birdhouse made of scrap fret board wood and various hardwoods. This simple birdhouse was made Leon Whipple, a former carpenter at Ovation Guitars in New Hartford. When Ovation closed in the summer of 2014, he was allowed to take some scrap wood; with it he constructed a variety of bird houses. The birdhouse was donated by Terry and Lou Moscaritolo, owners of Wild Birds Unlimited, Avon.
We have also had a number of photographs and newspaper clippings come in. As always, we are on the lookout for more information from any time period!
This is a rare view, most photographs were taken looking up at the dam and the factory. The main building, including the section still existing (Hurley Manufacturing) is located mid-center/left of the photograph. Holcomb Hill rises up to the left of the photograph. The main section of town is out of the picture, center-right. Lower Dublin, so called because of the many Irish immigrants who lived there is visible stretched on along the left bank of Greenwoods Pond. Only two of these row houses still exist.
The family run Fournier Bakery operated for 71 years in New Hartford and Winsted, between 1890 and 1961 by two generations of the Fournier family. When the younger generation, Frederick and George Fournier retired they closed the business.
At one time the bakery delivered by horse drawn wagon, complete with a gong to tell customers that they were coming. In later years it operated out of several retail locations in both towns. It also ran a coffee service for various local factories. In a sense, this section of the business was replaced by vending machines and other automated machines.
Today, there are several bakeries in town, including Collinsville Bakery and the Delery (now the Better Half). There are several other cafes as well.
(or the oddments one doesn’t think about). A man by the name of Mr. Sadd was the first person to bring cooking/heating stoves into town, in the early 1800’s. He was a silversmith and ironmonger, working in the North Village with a small foundry on West (or Carter) brook. He bought stoves in Canton and sold them in New Hartford at first, but then he quickly turned to making them himself. Prior to his work, all cooking and heating was done at the fireplace. In 1829, he and his family moved west towards Ohio, presumably continuing to bring the new innovations of cooking stoves to settlements out there.
Filed under Events, Industry
Through the early 1800’s most rural towns operated on a barter system whereby people did a variety of odd jobs as needed, hired people as needed, and bought/sold whatever was to hand. Most farmers kept detailed account books to record who owed them ‘money’ and who they owed in turn. Very little actual cash changed hands. Here is an account from Ebenzer Brown of New Hartford in 1773. He clearly had extra pasture to hand and was renting it for cattle, which were probably passing through on the way to a market. He also seems to have had extra space in his house, putting up four men for a week. He had a team of oxen that he hired out, presumably with himself as a drover. Staves, perhaps for barrels, seems to have been a commodity as well at the time.
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation is currently running a survey designed to locate and inventory all industrial sites in Connecticut. The primary goal of the survey is to identify industrial sites for reuse. I doubt that there is anyone in Connecticut who is not familiar with the classic Ct town: acre, upon acre, of gorgeous red brick mill buildings (often with 14 or 16 foot ceilings and oak or chestnut flooring) standing vacant in the center of nearly every major town. These buildings are elegant monuments; if the financial, regulatory, and environmental hurdles can be overcome they are also incredible spaces for housing, offices, and light industry.
Ironically, the 1936 and 1955 Floods are often seen as having done New Hartford a favor. Most of our brick factory building were demolished following either fire or the Floods; we haven’t been burdened with these great vacant spaces. On the other hand we don’t have the business opportunities they could represent either.
In any event, two late 1800 factory remnants still survive in town, both much shrunken from their height. The old Greenwoods factory, the remaining third of which is now occupied by Hurley Manufacturing, Ovation Guitars, and several small businesses; and the small remnant of the old Chapin factory in Pine Meadow, now occupied by several small businesses, including the Collinsville bakery.
Early 1800’s industry is almost as well represented: the Blacksmith shop and the Gristmill, both in Bakerville date from this period.
Modern industry can be found at the Industrial park (as well as Greenwoods and Chapin) and is generally of the small, high value, specialty type.
At the turn of the century, the North Village in New Hartford was lit by gas lights. These lights were powered, between the 1890’s and 1907, by gas produced at the Greenwoods Company’s gas plant. This plant had been installed to light the mills, which had gone to ten hour days in the late 1870’s and needed more artificial light. Another gas plant lit the cotton mills of D.B. Smith in Pine Meadow.
There were also at least two private plants generating gas in the North Village. Private gas plants were not unheard of; they tended to be built for large houses that were not close to industrial centers.
In 1907, the Greenwoods gas plant exploded due to faulty maintenance procedures. Two men were killed and a third severely burned. The gas plant was not rebuilt, since the mills were idle at that time. It is not know how the North Village was lit, or if it was, between 1907 and 1913 when electricity arrived. If anyone knows the location of the private gas plants, we would like to know.
Filed under Events, Industry
Sarah Lucia Jones description of New Hartford, written in 1883, paid particular attention to the North Village. Here we find a description of the New Hartford Hotel, the landmark building that stands at the intersection of Route 44 and Church/Bridge/Center Streets.
“the most respectable citizens of the town were among Mr. Cowles’ (the hotel owner) customers for liquor, there being no drugstores in those days, when the decanters on the sideboards needed replenishing….Among the customers who drank at the bar we find occasional mention of Dr. Thomas Brinsmade, Phineas Merrill, Co. Israel Jones, and Peletiah (sic) Allyn, who, when chilled with a long ride, found cheer and comfort in such stomach warmers as a ‘mug of flip’, or a more moderate ‘nip’ of the same, a glass of sing, brandy, or punch, which Mr. Cowles seems to have understood the art of mixing to perfection. The charges for board and lodging seem to vary in accordance with the quality of the guest, and probably also the quality of refreshment. ‘Breakfast’ is charged in one instance as 1 s. 3 d., while another boarder gets ‘3 meals victuals’ for 1 s. 6 d.; ‘to supper, flip, and bate’, ‘to lodging and bitters’, to bate cattle and horses,’ ‘to trouble in weighing hogs’ are among the registered charges.”
What exactly ‘bate’ means is unclear; however, given its usual usage (‘to restrain’) and the second mention of it; my best guess is that it was a charge for stabling cattle or horses, probably overnight. The hotel was on the main drove road, so cattle and hogs would have been passing by frequently. Hotels (or taverns and inns) would have had stock yards as a matter of course, much as modern hotels have parking lots. Presumably, the hotel had a decently large set of scales as well and, for a charge, these could be used for weighing hogs and probably other goods as well.