Wauregan

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Wauregan is a village located in the northwestern corner of the town of Plainfield, Connecticut in the United States. Originally a mill village, Wauregan was established around a cotton mill powered by the Quinebaug River.

A 90-acre (360,000 m2) portion of the original village area is listed as a historic district, the Wauregan Historic District, encompassing structures that are directly related to the economic and social activities of the mill. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[1] Extant buildings in the Wauregan historic district include the Wauregan Mill, an H-shaped building built from local fieldstone; James Atwood's home; the two boarding houses; the company store; and over one hundred workers' houses.[2] Architectural styles represented include Greek Revival and Late Victorian architecture.[3]

The village is also the core of a census-designated place (CDP) of the same name. The population of the CDP was 1,085 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Named for a Mohegan word meaning "good, fine, pleasant, delightful,"[4] Wauregan has a long history as an industrial village. In 1850, Amos D. Lockwood, who was involved with the Quinebaug Mill in Danielsonville, bought the water the water privileges and surrounding land at Wauregan. After the Wauregan Mills Company charter was approved by the Connecticut legislature in 1853, the first mill was constructed circa 1853-1854. Wauregan Mills was well-known for its woven cotton goods, including various types of flannel.[2][5] Lockwood became the mill's first agent and recruited James S. Atwood as his superintendent, who became responsible for setting up all machinery and starting production. The principal product of Wauregan was cotton sheeting.

James S. Atwood, who purchased the mill from Lockwood in 1858,[2] took particular interest in the village surrounding the mill, making it what he considered to be a "model hamlet" where his factory's employees "could find attractive and comfortable homes near their daily tasks."[5] Under James S. Atwood's leadership, Wauregan began to prosper. The mill was expanded, workers' houses were built, and several amenities to Wauregan village life were added. Worker housing in the village included 104 company-owned buildings containing 255 tenement apartments for rental to workers, plus two boarding houses for unmarried workers. A railroad station was built in 1859 and a post office was established in 1860. A company store was built in 1875 and operated with subsidies from the company. Another building in the mill village housed a firehouse, clubhouse, jail, and a reading room and library. A dairy farm and nearby woodlands were also part of the mill operation.[5] Atwood quadrupled the size of the factory, adding the south mill of the front block in 1859 and the entire rear block in 1867-68. The mill's labor force was around 750 people, with most living within the village. The mill would eventually reach a capacity of 56,616 spindles and 1,464 looms, with an annual output of eleven million yards.

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