Historic Structures

Willimantic Linen Company Mill Number 2, Windham Connecticut

willimantic Linen Company began operations in 1854 using cotton mills built in 1825, and soon shifted from linen to thread production when the Crimean War interrupted European flax supplies. By 1895, the firm built three new mills, a bleachery and dye house, a storehouse, an office, and other auxiliary structures. American Thread Company purchased Willimantic Linen in 1898 and continued to expand the Willimantic complex until c1915, adding or completing two mill buildings, a second dye house, and a warehouse. Thread manufacture persisted here until 1984. Information on 19th-century Willimantic Linen hydropcwer facilities is limited, but the overall sequence of development can be inferred from several sources. Between 1854 and 1864, the company purchased or developed four consecutive water privileges on the Willimantic River, which falls about ninety feet through the Borough of Willimantic over a ledge-dominated two-mile distance. Of the four privileges, totalling some 63 feet of fall, the lowermost had 16.5 feet of fall at a framed timber dam built c1825 in conjunction with a frame cotton mill on the north side of the river. Willimantic Linen bought this site in 1854, along with an 1825 stone cotton mill on the north bank between the two uppermost privileges (the Spool Shop, at or just above the site of the cl915 warehouse). The firm began operations in the older mills, and immediately began construction of Mill No. 1 and related hydropcwer facilities. Willimantic Linen built two dams cl854, above and below the Spool Shop, perhaps replacing or improving an earlier dam in the process. The uppermost dam (the Spool Dam) was a mortared granite block structure about 500 feet upriver from Mill No. 1, and developed a water privilege with 13.6 feet of fall. The second 1854 dam, a framed timber structure (later encased in granite block) built at the downstream end of Mill No- l, provided 11 feet of head. Willimantic Linen developed its last water privilege C1862-64, building a mortared granite-block dam with 22 feet of fall for Mill No. 2.

More...

New London Ledge Lighthouse, New London Connecticut

New London Ledge Lighthouse, built between 1906 and 1909, is a significant landmark in the history of navigation aids in New London Harbor. It marks a major hazard at the harbor entrance and replaced the New London Harbor Lighthouse, which was constructed in 1801. In the context of the history of lighthouse architecture, New London Ledge Lighthouse represents a rare example of a turn-of-the-century water-bound, masonry structure. This type of lighthouse design flourished in the United States during the 1860s and 1870s, but was largely supplanted by cheaper and more easily erected pre-fabricated cast-iron structures. Perhaps because the Congressional appropriation for this lighthouse followed the initiation of the design process by 14 years, the design of the superstructure combines nineteenth century ideas and styles with those of the twentieth century in an unusual way. Original working drawings of the lighthouses, dated 1906, show the use of steel beams and cinder slab floor construction, an early use of this technology in the United States. Temporary lighted navigational aids were constructed in the American Colonies as early as the first half of the seventeenth century. The first permanent lighthouse was built on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor in 1716. The New London Harbor Light, established in 1760, was the first permanent lighthouse erected on Long Island Sound. A series of other lights were constructed along the northeastern coast to improve navigation on the busy shipping lanes between New York and Boston during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

More...

Cole Motor Car Company Indianapolis Indiana

Joseph J. Cole, the man who was to become one of Indiana's leading automobile manufacturers, was born on March 23, 1869, on a farm in Waterloo, Indiana. J. J. Cole disliked farming and upon graduating from high school at the age of 16 enrolled in the Richmond Business College, where he completed a one-year course. From there he embarked upon a career in the carriage and buggy industry, first being employed by the Parry Manufacturing Company of Indianapolis and later working for the Moon Brothers Carriage Company of St. Louis. During his tenure with these two firms, he gained experience in all phases of the carriage manufacturing industry. However, his greatest success came as a salesman, and because of the large sales commissions he was able to earn he had saved $25,000 by the time he was 35 years old. In November, 1904, at the age of 35, he purchased a one-half interest in the up-and-coming Gates-Osborne Carriage Company of Indianapolis. The Gates-Osborne Carriage Company had been organized in Indianapolis in 1902 and the small carriage factory had prospered during the first two years of operation under the guidance of T. M. Osborne, president of the company. J. J. Cole became the company's second president in November, 1904, and in December of the following year the name of the company was changed to the Cole Carriage Company. Under Cole's leadership, the operations of the company were expanded. By 1907, 49 different models of carriages and driving wagons were being manufactured.

More...