HISTORY OF NORTH CANAAN, CONNECTICUT

Litchfield County, Connecticut


North Canaan:

Canaan
Sodom
East Canaan
Canaan Valley


Geology:

North Canaan consists of a plain along the Housatonic River.

Blackberry River Valley (floored by limestone) comes in from the east, bordered by hills. The town is dominated by Canaan Mountain.

Extensive limestone deposits have been quarried for lime and marble.


History:

1738 North Canaan settled.

1739  --  Richard Seymour constructs a "bloomery forge" on the south bank of the Blackberry River

1743  --  14 year old Samuel Forbes of Simsbury, CT, moves to Sheffield, MA and works at the Seymour Forge in East Canaan.

1751 Captain Isaac Lawrence built The Lawrence House, located on the west side of Elm St. (U. S. 7), originally used as a tavern.

The Old Donglas Place lies 0.25 of a mile to the west of Canaan village across the old R. R.

The manufacture of pig iron was the most important industry.  Blackberry River supplied power for the iron industry.

For iron making and agriculture, limes was necessary.  The Barnes Lime Kilns, 1.5 miles northeast on Rt. 124, near the Massachusetts line, provided that lime.  One of the plants of the New England Lime Corporation was located east from Canaan village by Route 101. The Allyndale Quarry, 0.75 of a mile north of East Canaan, supplied the marble for the State Capital at Hartford.

pre-Revolution  --  Gillette Place built, (3/4 mile northwest of the village).

c. 1770  --  Samuel Forbes, one of the pioneer ironmasters, built his house, near his forge and slitting mill.  (Ethan Allen was the bookkeeper for several years.)

1775-1783   --  American Revolution.

1786 Nathaniel Stevens House built.

1790 James Mars was born into slavery in North Canaan.  His father was owned, as was he, by the Reverend Mr. Thompson.

1798  --  Rev. Thompson was going to take his slaves down to Virginia; fearing they would be subjected to terrible treatment in the South, James Mars and his family escaped to nearby Norfolk. The reverend relentlessly pursued them. A compromise was worked out so that for twenty-five pounds going to the reverend, James and his brother alone would be sold into slavery up until their 25th year of age.

1822 Colonial church built.

1832  --  Samuel Forbes Adam, grandson of Samuel Forbes, build the first blast furnace in East Canaan (known as Forbes Furnace/East Canaan #1). 

1841  --  the Housatonic Railroad completed to Canaan.

1847  --  John Adam Beckley, great grandson of Samuel Forbes, built the Beckley Blast Furnace (East Canaan #2).

One of the largest of the Borden condensed milk plants was located here.

1858 North Canaan cut off from the town of Canaan.

1858  --  the Barnum Richardson Company, of Lime Rock, acquired Beckley Furnace.

1861-1865  --  Civil War. 

1872  --  Barnum and Richardson build East Canaan #3 (the Lower Furnace).  .

1872 the Canaan Union Station in North Canaan built. The was located at the junction of the original Housatonic Railroad line and the former Central New England Railroad line.

1883  --  East Canaan #1 (Forbes Furnace) is closed.

c.1898   --  John Rodemeyer, Jr., once the Editor of The Connecticut Western, wrote a book about North Canaan Scrap Book of North Canaan. 

1923  --  East Canaan #3 goes out of blast.

c. 1930s  --  a Gothic Clock Tower built for Christ Episcopal Church.

2001 an arson fire destroyed much of the Canaan Union Station.

2003  -- the surviving Canaan Union Station structure was bought by the Connecticut Railroad Historical Association. 


Source:

Canaan Union Station, North Canaan, Connecticut. http://wctrr.com/station/canaan.htm

North Canaan, Connecticut.  From the Connecticut Guide, 1935.  http://members.skyweb.net/~channy/CTGuideNCan.html

John Roper.  Yale New Haven Teacher Institute.  The Struggle for Equality by Connecticut Blacks in the 18th and 19th Centuries. http://www.cis.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1981/cthistory/81.ch.03.x.html

Friends of Beckley Furnace; Beckley Furnace Chronology  http://www.betweenthelakes.com/iron/beckley_chronology.htm

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