We just got word that Hamden Fire Department chaplain Rev. Owen Sanderson - the only HFRA member NOT retired - is resting comfortably in the Saint Raphael's campus of Yale-New Haven Hospital following surgery after breaking his hip. He is recovering nicely and says he expects to be discharged from the hospital Saturday to begin physical therapy at a local facility.
Please keep "the Rev" in your thoughts and prayers.
(All photos courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society.)
The Mount Carmel [Upper] Axle Works - c. 1890 - CLICK TO ENLARGE
The western, unmolested slope of Sleeping Giant, years before it was being quarried, can be seen in the background of this c. 1890s photograph of the Mount Carmel Axle Works building, otherwise known as "the upper axle works." It was located on the east side of Whitney Avenue, between Mt. Carmel Avenue and Todd Street, in what was then called "Mount Carmel Center."
The "lower axle works" was located nearby, on the north side of Mt. Carmel Avenue about fifty yards in from Whitney.
This building, erected in 1854, was the birthplace of a manufacturing process that transformed American transportation. In his History of the Town of Hamden, published in January 1888, historian William Blake wrote, "This, without question, was the first development in America of making iron carriage axles by machinery - using the engine lathe and boring machine, for turning and fitting arm and box of the axle."
Martha Becker, the late municipal historian of Hamden, wrote in a Brief History and Description of the Industrial Sites on Park Land, Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden CT., "The axle factory eventually passed into the hands of Willis Miller, whose father had worked for [the former owner] and who himself started work as a boy in the axle factory, inventing a 'patent axle' which bore his name."
"New" Upper Axle Works building (1907-c.1917) - Hamden Historical Society
Willis Miller, born in 1841, died on October 18, 1904. In the early hours of Sunday, January 27, 1905, just three months after Mr. Miller's death, the upper axle works building was destroyedby fire, no meaningful fire defenses being available in Mount Carmel at the time. All of the company's completed stock as well as company records were also destroyed.
A new upper axle works building was erected on the same site. In 1907, the property was bought by the New Haven Water Company and the new building was occupied by the Liberty Cartridge Company, where the North Hamden Improvement Society organized its volunteer fire company in December 1911.
Sometime in the mid-1910s, the "new" upper axle works building apparently suffered the same fate as its predecessor because, by 1917, the aforementioned fire company was suddenly required to change its meeting venue to the Mt. Carmel Congragational Church parish house at Whitney and Sherman Avenues.
The building foundation still exists along the east side of Whitney Avenue,
about 200 feet north of Mt. Carmel Avenue.
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The "Lower" Axle Works was on the north side of Mt. Carmel Avenue, about fifty yards in from Whitney Avenue. It is shown in context with Whitney Avenue in the photo below.
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The Lower Axle Works can be seen in this c. 1911 photo of the Kimberly Store, which stood at the old corner of Mt. Carmel and Whitney Avenues - both not yet paved. Until 1935, that corner was about a hundred feet south of its present location.
Out-of-town ladder truck photo has a Hamden connection
c. 1981 - The two young firefighters sitting on the running board of this American-LaFrance aerial ladder truck in a nearby community were getting a little well-deserved R&R. They had just rescued an unconscious teenage girl from a small third-floor attic window in the front of the building. Prior to their arrival on scene, another teenage girl had fractured her leg jumping from the same window. Other firefighters located an unconscious adult on the second floor. Unfortunately the man passed due to smoke inhalation.
Nope, it's not ours. This early 1940's Diamond-T city service ladder truck manufactured in Topsfield, Massachusetts by the Wood Engineering Services was very similar to the 1941 model delivered to Hamden in late February 1942. Chan Brainard took this color photo of Plainville's truck during the 1951 Connecticut State Firemen's Convention parade in Stamford.
Just like Hamden's, the Plainville truck was equipped with a pump and booster reel. It also sported the typical red and cream paint job that appears to been a distinguishing characteristic of Wood's ladder trucks.
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Six decades later Clark Hurlburt took this photo of Plainville's truck and wrote, "I thought I saw a ghost!"
Chan Brainard's 1957 photo of Hamden's 1941 Diamond-T at Humphrey Station No. 2. The Hamden truck appears to have a somewhat longer wheelbase.
Connecticut River all iced over, just north of the Haddam Bridge
Ice, lots of ice!
The unseasonably frigid temperatures that blanketed Connecticut during the first part of 2018 resulted in this amazing ice field situated along the Connecticut River in Haddam.
Despite the best efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard to break it up, the ice jam has caused the river to overflow its banks in places with severe damage to some of the adjacent properties.
An "antiquing" road trip to Middlesex county last weekend brought the photographer to the bridge at Haddam, near the Goodspeed Opera House, an opportunity to take photos of this rare phenomenon for Connecticut. These shots were taken from the western bank of the river, just north of the bridge.
January 21, 2018 - Ice field along Connecticut River - CLICK TO ENLARGE