Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rockville, Connecticut: The Hockanum Mills

Hi Everyone,

It looks like the warmer weather is finally upon us!  That being said, I’ve been out and about seeing people and things, lol.  Which brings me to the Town of Rockville……have you been there lately?  It’s one of those little towns that I think gets overlooked.  It’s a small section of Vernon and appears a bit run down but you have to look beyond that.  There is a lot of construction going on there presently so its an up and coming town.  Rockville has quite a bit of interesting history to it.

The downtown section has e a few older, beautiful structures on the main street but what caught my eye was the Hockanum Mills.  I like where it’s situated.  The mill is located on an uphill bend and when you are standing at the top, the view gives the impression of a once prominent mill overlooking the town.   These are photos of the mill at the top of the hill with its name facing the town:



This is the part I really enjoy ….often I start poking around for different angles and just seeing what I can see and as I do I ask myself questions that I want to know the answers to.  How old is this building?  Why hasn’t it been torn down?  What was it used for?  What can I say, I have an inquisitive mind. J

The Hockanum Mill was first constructed in 1814 on the Hockanum River and is the only remaining wood framed mill structure in Rockville.  Imagine that, 1814!  At that time it was called The Bingham & Nash Mill and produced a material called satinet, which is a type of cloth made of cotton warp with wool filling.

In 1821, the mill was sold and was enlarged by constructing a replica of the original mill.  These two mills became known as the Twin Mills.  In 1848, another larger mill was built but was destroyed in a huge fire in 1854.  Again, the mill was rebuilt, however the satinet industry began to decline and in 1869 George Maxwell took over as president and converted production to wool, a higher quality of material for menswear.  This proved to be profitable and the mill at one time employed about 100 workers.  President William McKinley’s inaugural suit worn in 1897 was manufactured in the Hockanum Mill.  In 1906, the Hockanum Mill merged with three other mills in Rockville and formed the holding corporation, The Hockanum Mills Company.

Eventually, the introduction of synthetic materials led to the end of wool production in Rockville and in 1951, under the name of M.T.Stevens & Company who purchased the mills in 1934, the mills were shut down.

Here is a shot of the mill from around the bend:



Standing there I could almost imagine what the mill was like in full operation.  There is a definite vintage feel about it.  The air had an old odor to it, not an unpleasant odor but one of old wood, bricks, dirt and the sweat that was put into the industry. It was easy for me to imagine the mill as it once was, can you?

Til next time,

K

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for your pictures and narrative. I had surgery at the hospital nearby and rode by this so I wanted to know more. You helped provide an answer.



















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