Hello from a snowy Easton! Yes, snow! This morning we had about 2-3 inches of heavy, wet snow, which brought welcome relief for a number of children who have been stuck at home. I am sure a few people made snowmen and did some sledding to break up the boredom of these recent weeks.
Before I go any further, I have a question for you: Does anyone remember specifically what year Johnny's Cider Mill ceased operation? We have a nice article written in the 1970's about the mill, which was an Easton landmark for so many years, but there is some confusion as to when it actually closed. As sure answer would be welcomed!
Today I continue to look at the remains of mills in the Poquanticut region of Easton, and found myself on Poquanticut Avenue where the Beaver Brook crosses near 55 Poquanticut. It was here, in 1830, that Nathaniel, Daniel, Albert, and Charles Hayward - all brothers - began the manufacture of small carriages. Typically called wheelwrights, they were among a number of small carriage manufacturers around Easton in the early days. This fledgling enterprise probably manufactured small, personal carriages, wheels, and other parts for those who could afford such. Eventually the little company produced delivery carriages for store owners and others to deliver their wares, and probably produced carriages on runners for winter use. The brothers, who grew up in a neighboring house, either built a small dam or shored up an existing beaver dam (hence the name Beaver Dam Road). The small pond they created was enough to power their mill.
Within a few years, two brothers, Daniel and Nathaniel, left the business to work in the very beginnings of the rubber industry. Daniel actually had a small shop where he built carriages with a primitive rubberized cloth, but his health was not with him and both he and the business failed. Brother Charles also left the carriage business, leaving Albert as the sole proprietor. In 1872, Albert took his son Albert M. into partnership, and in 1882 the son bought out the father. The shop continued to be a success, and growth prompted the son to erect a substantial new building at the Five Corners in 1886. The old mill building was later moved to the new site. A robust business continued for several decades before finally becoming victim to motorized transportation. Following the Depression, the building at the Five Corners was razed.
Back to Poquanticut Avenue! This site is on private property, so you cannot walk it, but it is easily viewed from the road. You have probably driven by it many times and never knew what was there. The first photo attached is the Beaver Dam as it appears today, Two other photos show the foundation of the 1830 building and the stone steps that led down into the shop.
Stay well, remember to duck snowballs, and next week we'll explore one more site along the Beaver Brook.
Carriage Shop Steps
Carriage Shop Foundation