A Look Back in Time

marlbmills
Marlborough Mills
Burned March 1, 1907

From Marlborough, Connecticut 1715-1953
Henry W. Tuttle, Editor

The heart of what is now Marlborough was the crossroads of two well-traveled routes.  During colonial times, North and South Main Streets were known as Hockanum Path and Monhege Trail, and travelers used this route to go from Hartford to New London.  Route 66 was a cart path that took farmers and their crops to Middletown for transport on the Connecticut River.  Travelers found this crossroads to be an ideal place for rest, refreshment, and a change of horses.  Both Sadlers Ordinary and the Tavern offered such a haven during this period.

The Birth of a Town

In 1747 William Buell and Joel Foote petitioned the Colonial Government to form an Ecclesiastical Society.  Two years later, they began building the First Congregational Church.  The Church was finished in 1803, and on October 13 of that year, The General Assembly incorporated a new town from parts of Glastonbury, Hebron, and Colchester.  The name for this town was taken from Marlborough, a borough of Wilshire, England.  In December of 1803, Marlborough’s first town meeting was held, and in March of 1804, the Selectman Committee met for the first time at the Tavern.

Marlborough as a Center of Industry

As Marlborough continued to grow, businessmen and manufacturers were attracted to its rich resources.  During the mid-1800’s Marlborough experienced a dramatic boom of growth and prosperity due to the addition of a number of textile mills.  By 1845, the population had risen to 832.  However, it appeared this heyday was not meant to last.  During the Civil War, the demand for cloth dropped severely, and several mills were forced to stop their production, while others burned down.  By 1907, the mills were gone and Marlborough returned to its former roots as a sleepy farming town.  In 1910, the population had dropped as low as 302 people.   It seemed as if Marlborough had been forgotten by the rest of the State, and it remained that way for the next 50 years.  However, despite these changes, the sense of community remained strong.  Families were born, worked the land, lived their entire lives, and died in Marlborough.

The Rediscovery of Marlborough

In 1964, a new highway was opened, setting Marlborough on yet another course for change.  With two exits in Marlborough, Route 2 paved the way for the town to be discovered once again.  Young families who worked in Hartford, just like their colonial counterparts so many years ago, were captivated by the quiet beauty and simple life that Marlborough had to offer.  It wasn’t long before many began calling it home.  During the years that followed, Marlborough experienced another boom. Neighborhoods and developments sprang up, and the town saw a return of businesses, restaurants, shops, and even some industry.  This period of growth continues to this very day.  Curious travelers stop at our crossroads, discover all that this unique town has to offer, and decide to make Marlborough their home.

 

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