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abandonedplaces

Somersville Manufacturing Company (Part 1)

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Sep. 8th, 2006 | 01:19 pm
mood: hungryhungry
posted by: heatherizcool in abandonedplaces

Finally getting around to posting pictures from my favorite site I've explored thus far: an abandoned mill.


The day: September 4, 2006. Labor Day. That day when people usually barbeque and otherwise convienent places are closed. I left the house for the drive up to Barkhamsted, CT where my dear friend and partner in crime Kim lives. I haven't been there in a decent while so I was reaquainted with the fact that although remote, northern Connecticut is effing gorgeous. I am stating this now because on our sojourn, I saw a whole lot of it.

Anyway, having arrived at Kim's house, I picked her up and off we went. Our main destination for the day: Somersville Manufacturing Company, an abandoned textile mill located, predictably, in Somersville. We didn't know much (and still don't) about this mill, other than a few basic specifics: it was built in 1873, completed in 1928 (a frighteningly long span of time, but I can see why -- the place is gargantuan), and closed in 1970. It was supposedly bought by someone at some point and some construction was done to refurbish it, but for a mysterious unknown reason, is currently abandoned. It's also placed literally on a river.

Somersville is about an hour east of Barkhamsted, so we had a lovely trek through rural CT while on the way. We passed a lot of tobacco farms. I didn't know CT even had tobacco farms. Luckily Kim knew pretty much exactly where we were going because she grew up very close to Somersville. After following crap directions that not only put us in the wrong town (Somersville is NOT Somers, come to find out), but tried to send us down a nonexistent road (in a scary area that was literally the middle of the woods, no less), we backtracked to the main drag of Somersville and decided to just drive around, keeping our eyes peeled for anything huge and brick-like.

I was driving, but Kim spotted it down a side road almost immediately. After some turning arounding, we got ourselves on the correct road and drove right up to it. I was immediately in awe. There was a dirt driveway so we parked there, despite being very conspicuous. There were also No Trespassing signs posted all over it. Oops. While we love this exploring stuff, I have lofty career aspirations for after college and Kim has a husband, child, and fetus, so neither of us are willing to seriously risk arrest. But, as we came all this way, plus the fact that Somersville seemed pretty sleepy, and the gates to the grounds were wide open, we figured it couldn't hurt to walk around the outside at least and document that. We got out, grabbed some camera equipment (I had my Rebel and Kim had a video camera), and began our exploration.

While we were wary of all the No Trespassing signs, immediately after our departure from the car, some guy pulled up behind us, parked, and got out with his son who looked to be about ten. They said hello to us and walked through the grounds like they go there every day and disappeared behind back. There were also two other cars parked in the driveway, but we weren't sure if they belonged to the house that was right next door to the mill or not. We would soon discover who they belonged to, but for now we turned our attention to the mill.



The first slightly-less-concerned-with-artistics-more-concerned-with-holy-fuck-this-place-is-huge! shot. Yes, there is a tree growing out of the roof.





I play with zoom to get a closer shot of the roof tree.

Moving around the left side of the building toward the man and his son disappeared, we began to hit a bunch of broken ground floor windows.



This was taken through one of them. Not exactly sure what the steel beams were for. Maybe they were planning to build a wall there before the construction mysteriously stopped?



Same window, different angle. I was trying to be artsy I guess.



Around back now, there were lots of blocked off entrances with those lovely No Trespassing signs around.



Nature is really reclaiming the place. Here it looks like a tree tried to grow behind the board and failed.



Neat little porch thing. It was around there that we realized how close to the river we were -- and not only that, but that there were people down there fishing, which explained the cars parked out front and where the man and his son disappeared to.



Heading back to the front to check the other side. There's my car! Another point of interest is that building across the street. There were actually several smaller buildings around the mill that also looked abandoned, that we figured had been the administration buildings or something when the mill was running. There were signs for this particular building that seemed to suggest it was being used for something now (auto repair?), but it still fits in with the architecture of the mill.



We get the idea, signs. Don't you know that telling someone they can't do something will just make them want to do it more?



Walking around the front of the mill, we found a balcony, below which was... water. The river literally flows UNDER it. Too cool.



Windows broken like my soul.



Another angle of the balcony and the river flowing below it.



Year of completion etched in stone.



Possibly my favorite feature of the whole site. Rusted wheel that obviously controlled something.



Wider shot. It's hard to see from here, but below the beams was more water and an old dam-like door that looked like it kept the river from flowing under there. The wheel probably opened and closed the dam door to let more water flow under the mill.



Another building across the street. This one looks truly abandoned.



More dates etched in stone.



Here's a point of interest. There was another brick building behind the mill, but this one looked like it was still under serious refurbishment. There was a newly paved driveway, landscaping, and building materials inside. Around back was this. Directly behind me was the mill, only several yards away.



Yes, what looks like a preschool/day care center is in this building. So weird to think of what while the kiddies play in their little yard, a hugeass abandoned mill looms nearby.



And here it is.

This was around the time Kim, being pregnant, really had to pee. So we decided to leave briefly for a sojourn to a bathroom, then come back, regroup, and see if we could perhaps gain just a little bit of entry. I took this picture of that building across the street again that might be used for auto repair before we left.



Next time on the Somersville Manufacturing Company Adventure, we continue to explore the exterior, talk to a local, get very close to the river, and I go inside (sadly very shortly) for a few of my favorite shots from the day.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned. :)

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Comments {6}

Kimberly

(no subject)

from: love_your_ego
date: Sep. 8th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
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That seems odd, it looks like the started re-modeling but then never finnished. All of those windows looked to be the modern double pane type. Kind of a shame, seems like the place could make really nice apartments or something.

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Agent Tattletale

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from: telegramsam70
date: Sep. 8th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
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wow. can't wait to see more.

Here's one that *was* in my city until a few years ago when it was totally demolished: http://www.alliedpaper.org/

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B-)>

(no subject)

from: bulletsandbones
date: Sep. 8th, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC)
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The mill was likely built _on_ the water because it was originally water powered. Just a guess, of course, but if it was started in the late 19th century water power would be very likely for a Mill, I'd think.

Loved the pics, makes me want to make a little road trip that way B-)>

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BigC

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from: short_line2
date: Sep. 8th, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Most mills of the late 1800's had switched to steam power over water power.

The build dates here are in the 1920's so the water was either used in the manufacturing process or the mill was built over the water as an way to cool the building before wide spread use of AC systems.

From the photos the mill looks like it is a candidate for rehab rather than demolition.

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Chompy

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from: chompy_
date: Sep. 9th, 2006 01:49 am (UTC)
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Between the new windows and the metal studs, it looks to me like they were going for an office-type rehab. I'm glad to see at least some of it is in use!

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greenwhimsy

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from: greenwhimsy
date: Sep. 9th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Lol, "windows broken like my soul" ;D

Good pics! I feel like I've gone on a mini adventure of my own!

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