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A Look Back at Phoenixville

An excerpt from This month's Tankerhoosen newsletter.

Over the summer, when the new bridge was dedicated near the old Phoenix Mills neighborhood, longtime Vernon historian Jon Roetook a moment to reflect.

"This was once a thriving mill community," he said, pointing to where company housing for the Pheonix Mills workers one stood. He pointed to other historic spots, like where the factory was.

He then hinted he might compile a short look back on the area.

Here's what he offered in this month's Tankeerhoosen newsletter.

Phoenixville is one of the small, largely forgotten, mill villages in Vernon. Indeed the only reference to the village name and most of its history is found in "Cascades and Courage," George S. Brookes' 1955 history of Vernon and Rockville. It includes parts of Phoenix Street and Maple Street. The primary features visible today are the Tankerhoosen Lake and dam.

Once this quiet corner was a busy village. When Phoenixville was a thriving village Phoenix Street connected the railroad at Vernon Depot with Hartford Turnpike just opposite the present Vernon Diner. Villages of the time were self-contained with worker and supervisor housing provided by the company. There are still several houses dating to that period on Phoenix and Maple Streets. Indeed one of the earliest schoolhouses in town was located here.

There were a number of mills in the area from about 1808 the late 1920s. In its prime the Phoenix Mills Company manufactured cotton warp. In 1879 it became a branch of the Dobsonville Mill, later was used for storage and finally burned. The property passed to the Talcott Brothers. Remains of the walls are visible if you peer over the bank.

For more history, check out www.tankerhoosen.info.

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