Hazardville (Enfield)

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Hazardville is a section of the town of Enfield, Connecticut, in Hartford County.[1] It is a census-designated place (CDP) that had a total population of 4,900 as of the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Hazardville originated as an industrial village centered around the manufacture of gunpowder using water power from the Scantic River. The first small black powder mill was established in 1835 by Allen Loomis in an area then known as Powder Hollow. A company called Loomis, Denslow and Company, named for Loomis and his business partner, was established the following year.[2][3] The company manufactured powder from saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal.[4]

Hazardville takes its name from Colonel Augustus George Hazard (1802-1868), who bought into the company in 1837 and eventually built it to become a major producer of gunpowder. The company changed its name to Loomis, Hazard & Company in 1837, and became the Hazard Powder Company in 1843 when Hazard bought Loomis' share of the business. Production increased over the years in response to the needs of the U.S. military for gunpowder during the Mexican War (1846-1848), demand for blasting powder during the California gold rush of 1849, and the Crimean War (1850s), when the Hazard Powder Company supplied both Britain and Russia with gunpowder, shipping a total of 500 tons to Britain. During the American Civil War, the mill was one of the three chief sources of gunpowder for the Union forces, producing up to 12,500 lb/day. At its peak the Hazard Powder Company operated in 125 buildings occupying hundreds of acres of land. The business declined after the Civil War.[2][3][4] However, Hazardville still had a relatively large population of 1,500 in the 1890s.[5] In 1912 the gunpowder operation was sold to Hercules Powder, and it closed permanently after a major explosion on January 14, 1913 destroyed much of the plant.[2][3][4]

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