Belltown Historic DistrictBelltown Historic District - East Hampton, Connecticut
Historic Village of East Hampton, CT
A view of down town East Hampton looking northward with the Carrier Block building and Barton Hill Rd. on the left. This historic East Hampton Photo from the 1940s was taken from the Air Line Railroad bridge that crossed over Main Street. Some of the more notable historic landmarks located in the center of the Belltown National Historic District include: Hitchcock’s Pharmacy was as well as the Buckland and Barton General Store, the Post Office, Siebert’s Opera House, Barton Drug Store, and Louis James’ Candy Kitchen.
Buckland – Barton General Store
Barton Drug Store and Soda Shop
The National Register Of Historic Places
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Belltown Historic District is roughly located on Main Street in the center of East Hampton, Connecticut between West High Street, CT 16, and portions of West High St, Barton Hill, Summit, and Skinner Street. The Historic District contains an exceptionally large concentration of contributing historic buildings: 147 of the 176 buildings in the District. Once known as the Town of Chatham, settlement in this area dates from the early eighteenth century, ninety-four percent of the contributing historic buildings were built after 1800, the period associated with the industrial development of the town as a bell-manufacturing center.
The Belltown Historic District, which encompasses the industrial center of East Hampton, Connecticut, is historically significant as the only mill town in the nation known to be exclusively devoted to bell making, a highly specialized industry which prospered for over 100 years. A significant cohesive and distinguishable entity, the Belltown Historic District contains a full range of historic resources which illustrate in their diversity of scale, function, or level of architectural style the social and economic development of the town. Exceptionally well-preserved buildings of all types dating from 1748 to 1935 can be found in the district.
The Town of East Hampton, Connecticuts economy was at first largely driven by shipbuilding and related interests, centered at Middle Haddam on the Connecticut River, but these were in decline by the early 19th century. William Barton, a native of Bloomfield, Connecticut, arrived in East Hampton in 1807, bringing with him the specialized knowledge of working brass for the manufacture of bells. He established a foundry, where he trained a whole generation of bellmakers whose work would fuel the town’s economy. The Bevin Brothers, among those he trained, were the first to apply water power to the process, damming Lake Pocotopaug Brook for the purpose. Their business continues to be a major presence in the town. By 1860, Belltown had 23 men listed as bell manufacturers.
The historic district has a spider-like configuration, anchored by a stretch of Main Street between West High and Edgerton Streets. Fingers of the district extend off of a number of side streets, which are typically lined with residential and industrial buildings. The district covers 145 acres (59 ha), and includes 145 contributing buildings, in a diversity of 19th-century architectural styles. Prominent elements include the surviving mill complexes of the bell makers and associated businesses, as well as four churches. There are also several industrial archaeological sites in the southern part of the district, where early and failed bellmaking businesses were once located.
Comstock Covered Bridge
The Comstock Bridge, also known as the Comstock Covered Bridge is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the three remaining covered bridges left in the state of Connecticut – the other two being the Bulls Bridge in Kent and the West Cornwall Covered Bridge overlooking the Housatonic River in West Cornwall, Connecticut.
The Comstock Bridge is located on 14 Bridge Street at the junction of Colchester and East Hampton crossing the Salmon River.
Upcoming East Hampton, CT Events
CT River Kayak
Sunday September 18th 2022The Chatham Historical Society and East Hampton Parks and Rec are sponsoring a leisurely kayak paddle from Hamburg Cove in Hamburg,Connecticut to the Baldwin Bridge in Old Lyme, on Saturday, September 18. Paddlers can meet at the parking lot...
Hurd State Park Walk
Hurd State Park WalkThe Chatham Historical Society (CHS) is organizing a hike at Hurd State Park on Sunday, July 11th at 10 am as part of its “Explore East Hampton” monthly series of walks. Come for a hike and learn history of Hurd State Park. The walk is sponsored by...
2020 Antique Appraisal Day
Antique Appraisal Day 2021 Saturday, March 20th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Chatham Historical Society will host its 25th annual Antique Appraisal Day at the East Hampton Town Hall, 1 Community Drive Dr. Verbal Evaluations The Chatham Historical Society only provides...
Chatham Historical Society Website
This site intends to provide information to the public about the Chatham Historical Society’s upcoming Calendar of Events and Programs with the purpose of bringing together people interested in the History of Cobalt, Middle Haddam, and East Hampton, Connecticut.