Connecticut was once known as the industrial center of the Northeast. Every
town had manufacturing jobs and factories. Huge brick buildings up to four
stories in height towered over the streets. Unless one of your parents worked at
one, you wouldn’t know how they were built. Thick brick walls, windows large
enough to admit daylight to work by, thick steel girders to hold up the weight of
The machines often ran twenty-four/seven.
Connecticut was famous for hundreds, maybe thousands of products. Thread
from Willimantic went worldwide. Manchester made silk. Coventry made flannel
and wool during the Civil and First World Wars.
Waterbury brass mills made ball
bearings, buttons, fasteners.
So what happens when a mill shuts down?
The windows are covered until some vandal breaks the glass. Some of the
buildings were burned when homeless people tried to build fires on the oilsoaked
The buildings became an eye-sore.
Then that old Yankee spirit rose. How does that old saying go? Wear it out, use it
Well a few entrepreneurs bought a few buildings. Using government grants and
private funds they rehabbed the structures into housing.
the effort has changed entire neighborhoods around. Condos with playgrounds
I’ve included pictures of the Ameribelle project in Rockville. Since I couldn’t get
too close because of the construction fences the pictures are from the other side.
Ameribelle made fabric sold around the world and went out of business last year.
The factory stands at the end of the town center. They’ve removed the asphalt
parking lot, uncovered the river that runs beneath one building. That waterfall
powered electricity to the machines in the 1880s and beyond.
The rehabilitation is less than half done but the area looks terrific. They removed
the newer structures, leaving the original ones.
I drive by daily and am fascinated by the changes. They are already landscaping
the banks of the newly exposed river. They had built an underground waterway to
allow more buildings.
This project is the third here to make housing out of unused property.
Please leave a comment with your contact information for a chance to win my
historical romance, Another Love, set in New England in 1892.
Some promises are made to be broken.
Caught in a web of political intrigue, graft and threats to a beloved child,
Meg Warren and Drew Larkin hunt the men threatening the downfall of President
Cleveland and the economic fabric of America. From a poor farm to the
ostentatious world of New York’s elite, they sift lies, discover trust and an
attraction they cannot resist. The last thing they expect to find is a love worth
more than gold.
"Quote." – Pat Potter, award winning author calls Another Love…“A real page turner
with wonderful characters and a unique plot. You can’t miss with this one.”
Review from Romantic Times Magazine **** 1/2 (four and one-half stars)
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