Presentation on theme: "Early Names for Branchville:"— Presentation transcript:
1 Early Names for Branchville: Wheer Cock“Native American Name” obviously Anglicized. Weyaquock or somethingalong those lines is more Native American.Copp’s CornerJohn Copp surveyed the Land in Ridgefield “The land was high and rocky, but the soil was fertile and there were more than sixty miles of streams that could serve future mills.” Copp’s Corner is the intersection of Mountain Rd. and Peaceable St.Ridgefield Station/Beers StationFrom it was the only station in Ridgefield. Sherman Beers sold Land to RR for $600, William W. Beers, Postmaster until 1879.
2 Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton Boundary Marker. Located at corner of Peaceable St. and Mountain Rd.
7 Why was Branchville less traveled? Norwalk to Danbury Turnpike The Main Route to Danbury at this time came up Old Mill Road.Most Businesses/Mills are along Old Mill Road heading into Georgetown.
8 Great PondFlorida Hill1811 Map Main RoadsBranchvilleOld Mill Rd.
9 1856 No Businesses On Sugar Hollow Cabinet Shop Blacksmith Plenty of Business onOld Mill Rd.
10 Sugar Hollow to Branchville Sugar Hollow Highway created around 1818 to ease traffic on Danbury to Norwalk Turnpike. This was not successful until the railroad arrived. Later referred to as The Old Route 7, a.k.a. “State Road”
13 Horton’s Ice Cream Shop. At the corner of Sugar Hollow & Route 7. Building still stands today.
14 Danbury to Norwalk RR completed 1852 The Danbury to Norwalk Railroad began construction in the autumn months of 1850, the task was to convert 23 miles of rugged landscape along the Norwalk River into an iron trail that could not exceed a 1% grade…via human labor. There was not any specialized equipment, hardy souls and hand tools would be the only tools employed in the railroad's construction. Newly immigrated, enduring prejudices, and in need of work, the Irish were the hardy souls that manned the pick axes and accomplished the arduous task in an astonishingly short timeframe. With the completion of the Danbury to Norwalk Railroad in the spring of 1852, its workers were faced with two options: take up work on another stretch of rail-line or settle where they were and find new work. Thus, the area around Branchville & Georgetown became home - or at least a jumping-off place - for many Irish immigrants in search of a home.
16 Railroad Workers Pay- 1851 Name Days Wages Board Take-Home Pay John McCauliff21.75$21.75$0.00Thomas Corcey19.75$14.81$8.70$6.11Timothy Sullivan19.25$14.44$10.00$4.44Andrew Sullivan22.00$16.50$6.50John Brody9.75$6.17$7.50-$1.58
17 Beers Family major landowners in Branchville & Ridgefield:From 1789 to 1814 Anthony BeersAcquired acres. FutureGenerations enjoy the benefits.Branchville station is the lowestpoint in Ridgefield at 342’.Seeing Sherman Beers sold landTo RR company the Station isreferred to as Beers orRidgefield Station for 18 yrs.Branchville name given by RRCompany in reference to BranchLine to Ridgefield builtWilliam Woolsey Beers- Station Agent/Postmaster until 1879
18 After RR ArrivesStores and BusinessesQuickly find their wayto Branchville.Map circa 1856Branchville thenRidgefield or Beer’sStation
19 The Mining TownBranchville Becomes a Mining Town: First Granite, then Mica, then “Oh MY!” World Wide Fame.
20 P.W. Bates owned Ridgefield Granite Works and deeds show the Batesname on or close to Mountain Rd.until William Haaker also wasgiven the right to Quarry granite inthe late 1800’s, early 1900’s.Branchville ArtGallery Location
27 Peaceable Street at the turn of the century. House shown still stands today (barely).A caretaker house for 33 Peaceable St.Anne Parrish Titzell
28 The World Famous Branchville Mine Some Redding Residents call themselves Reddingites… Very few know it actually means: “hydrated phosphate of manganese and iron”Reddingite was one of the 8 unique minerals discovered at the Branchville mine.
31 BranchvilleMineAbijaha N. FillowBranchville ArtGallery Location
32 Pine MountainRoadBranchvilleStationMountainRoad
33 Branchville Mine Timeline First Excavation by Abijaha N. Fillow approx Mined for Mica but ceased in the spring of 1878 because he thought the mica was of inferior quality.George Brush and Edward Dana of Yale University become so enthused by the new minerals Fillow uncovers that they engage Fillow to resume excavations with Yale Funds.Nine new minerals were discovered. Mineral types: pegmatite, and quartz, feldspar, mica, spodumene, beryl and columbite. Eight unique to Branchville location. Brush and Dana get famous, Fillow gets rich.In 1926: 31 minerals excavated by Frank Schairer. Schairer, in addition to being a well known Mineralogist, was a key contributor to the stellite-lined machine gun barrel project.
36 Branchville Mine Timeline, cont. From September 1943 to November 1944, Fred and Joseph Burrone and Carlo Rusconi, all of North Branford, Connecticut, operated the mine for micaSandy Ridge Mica and Mining Company, Inc., th Street N. W., Washington, D. C., worked the mine in November and December Minor mining projects would continue until 1954.Sheet Mica was important in WWII because it was used to insulate electrical equipment…Spark Plugs, Radio Apparatus, Fuse Boxes, Heating Devices and Telephones.Michael DeLuca attempted to open the mine again in but ran into zoning problems. Monaplastics, Inc. landowners
37 research work on "The Minerals of Connecticut." He collected the data J. Frank Schairer located 31 different minerals in It was part of hisresearch work on "The Minerals of Connecticut." He collected the datawhile he was at Yale. Schairer helped organize the Yale MineralogicalSociety and was elected its first president on October 5, 1923.
39 Branchline to Ridgefield completed 1870 Prior to Branchline passengers driven to Ridgefield by Horse andBuggy. Branchline the result of increased demand for both passenger & freight service to Ridgefield. Following completion 3 trips a day were made to/from Ridgefield…15 minutes each way. Almost immediately “Branchville” name applied to village.Branchline is now hiking/biking trail starting at CL&P lines below Hickory Lane off Florida Road.
41 Route 7 Looking North Toward Route 102 Building to the left is currently Pete’s Mane Concern. Branchline RR Crossing can be seen in the distance. By this time Rt. 7 improvementshad closed Branchline to passenger service in Freight continued until The line was never electrified.
45 Dangerous Return Trip to Main Line There was no turn-around in Ridgefield. Trains traveling up to Ridgefield would have to return to Branchville in Reverse. This was dangerous seeing Ridgefield is 700’ above sea-level, Branchville is 342’ above sea-level.
59 Comical story relayed by Jack Sanders…Branchvillers tried to pull a "switch-a-roo" on Ridgefield. Signs were created andposted re-naming Branchville as Ridgefield and the actual townof Ridgefield as "West Ridgefield" This did not go over big andlasted a very short time.Perhaps this explains why West Branchville Rd. was appliedto the eastern most section of Ridgefield. Pay back.
60 Quartz & Feldspar Mining 1880 Union Porcelain Works of Greenpoint, New York, leased the Branchville Mine property and operate it for feldspar and quartz until at least Feldspar is used in making porcelain.Soon after (1891) The Bridgeport Wood Finishing Company of New Milford, Connecticut, operated for quartz and feldspar until approx BWFC also leased mining land to other companies during this time period.
77 Fine Powdered Quartz & Feldspar The BWFC first baked, then crushed and ground Quartz and Feldsparinto a fine powder with large Quartz wheel stones.Of the crusher Willis DeForest recalled “ I can still hear the pounding noise,Hour after hour, of that crusher.”The powdered material was then sifted through sieves, some producedlocally by Richard Bennet. Over time they found silk sieves worked thebest (they were more durable).Next the product was barreled and shipped via railroad to their processingPlants. Where “Cooper’s Tavern” (Bank 59, Amici’s) stood there was oncea cooperage that supplied barrels for this purpose (in addition to local wine).Top quality (flour sized) quartz became wood filler and paint, low-to-midquality (sand sized) feldspar was used as poultry grit. High quality feldspar was used in ceramics and soap.Many mill employees died as a result of the ever-present dust. 90% of theemployees were said to be Italians.
80 1882 Addition to Danbury/Norwalk Railroad. This leads to profitable Wilson Point on Long Island SoundShipped TrainsTo Long Island1882 Addition to Danbury/Norwalk Railroad. This leads to profitableAgreements with other RR’s & is a great benefit to businesses on the line.Ice, Eggs/ Milk, Wire, Granite, Feldspar, Quartz all products that can now reach NYC ports from Branchville & Georgetown.
93 The Italian American Citizens Political Club of Ridgefield, June 29, 1913
94 Where Could Immigrants Find Work? Bridgeport Wood Finishing CompanyCountry EstatesDeland & Gilbert SoapGilbert & Bennett Wire MillGruman Ice ToolsMead Stone ToolsMonarch Mining Co.RailroadRidgefield Water linesRidgefield Sewage linesService industryIn addition to these “day jobs” many Italian immigrants were able tocreate a second income via wine and hard cider. A number of home based Taverns or “drinking rooms” proved successful and quite popular in the area.
95 Cooking Porchetta- Frank Santini, James Costanzi, Enrico Frulla and Bruno Franceschini
96 Clearing the land for Branchville playground and ball field. Branchville Civic Association. Joe Ancona, Jr & Sr, Ray Platt,Frank D’Addario, Rick & Gene Ridolfi Chevy.
97 Memorial Day parade from Georgetown to Branchville Cemetery was once an annual event.G&B School, North Main, speech at 3 trees (memorials to WWI), Route 7,Route 102, Florida Road, Flowers on Graves. Some would walk back toMethodist Chapel, Kearns’ would give out Ice Cream to kids that walkedback from Miller Sisters: Beth and Kate.
98 Anna Giovanna, Anne, Giuseppe and Anthony Del Biondo
100 Saint Mary’s in Ridgefield. Sacred Heart Church convenient to Branchville residents. A good number attendedSaint Mary’s in Ridgefield.Note the church, G&B, William J. Gilbert house, Gilbert Farm (former owned by Sturges Bennett)
104 Life’s Fresh Air CampJohn Ames Mitchell of Life Magazine opened the camp in 1899.He originally raised $800 to send 266 under privileged city kids from NYC to Branchville.Located where Branchville School is today.Later Hidden Valley, the New York Herald Tribune’s Fresh Air Camp.A version of the camp still exists to this day in other parts of the country…in Redding New Pond Farm runs a similar program each summer.
110 John Ames Mitchell’s West Lane Estate “Windover”
111 Life’s Fresh Air Camp location of Branchville Elementary School The Branchville School opened in 1969 on lower FloridaRoad, and remained in use until Decliningenrollment led to the school’s closing. The Board ofEducation occupied the school until 1994 when increasingenrollments resulted in voters agreeing to re-open theschool.