Southington Landscape in Transition

The Southington portion of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is actively undergoing change. The”Rails to Trails” pathway is 4.1 miles in length and spans distance between the Cheshire/Southington town line north to Hart Street in Southington.

Asbestos was removed from Ideal Forging at High and  Center Streets May 4, 2015. According to the Record-Journal report, Weston Solutions Inc., supervised the initial 2013 cleanup when the bulk of hazardous materials such as oils, manufacturing chemicals, acids and florescent tubes were removed in 2013. Site cleanup required specific demolition permits from the state for asbestos removal.

Peck, Stow & Wilcox was located in Southington and employed over 1000 workers spanning decades dating back to 1785-1795 under iterations of the combined names, Roys & Wilcox, Solomon Stew and Seth Peck.

The development of the Linear Trail is such a positive addition to Southington. The flat trail is a great use of open space and provides a resource for exercise enthusiasts: a win-win for all. It seemed a natural fit to look at the surrounding areas and plan for the removal of vacant buildings such as Ideal Forging and nearby empty factories. The Hartford Courant reported New York developer Meridian Development Partners Southington purchased The Ideal Forging property in 2005. The recession delayed a retail-residential complex project slated for the 14-acre parcel. The wait is over and signs of change are seen throughout the landscape.

Piles of rock wait to be taken away while blocking the view from homes that line the trail. Rusted metal artifacts truly look the part of relic technology. That view will continue to evolve as debris is replaced by new construction. It will be interesting to see how the integrity and idyllic feeling of open space the trail currently offers will blend with that of a mixed use space site plan.

Another factor to consider is crowd logistics. Southington is best known for its annual Apple Harvest Festival with a 5K run, the yearly Italian-American street fair, weekly music on The Green concerts and big turn outs for parades.  With new housing situated so close to populated events – be prepared to get your maneuvering skills ready!

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Historic Building Restored Anew

Take a walk along Southington’s Rails To Trails and signs of yesteryear are hard to miss.Old buildings and remains of the old rail system that once ran along the Farmington canal can be seen beneath the grass. Freight transportation running between New Haven to Northhampton, Mass. carried Southington manufactured war supplies over the course of several decades from the late 1800’s up to the second World War.

Milldale

One building in particular called the Milldale Depot was quite the hub of activity in the height of its day. The Depot is located near the former Clark Bros. Bolt Co. building in the Milldale section of Southington.

The refurbished Depot opened in 2013 after volunteers worked on the structure. Owners of Southington Paint donated materials and time to give the exterior a bright new fresh coat of red colored paint.Eagle Scout Casolo painted the interior walls along with clean up provided by The Southington Parks and Recreation Department. Display cases built by the Kiwanis Club show artifacts donated by the Southington Historical Society.

Light Signal

Light Signal

The linear trail itself is an asset to Southington, and with the historic pitstop along the way, visitors have the opportunity to stop in and take a look back in time during a weekend walk. The Milldale Depot museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Work gloves and box.

Work gloves and box.