The Naugatuck Historical Society

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formerly the Naugatuck Railroad Station

ARTHITECT - HENRY BACON - CONTINUED (Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3)

Situated on a level site high above the Naugatuck River, the station faces west toward the town center. The tracks are behind the building and the rest of the extensive site is paved for parking with asphalt and bordered by a grass verge with trees on the west.

The Naugatuck Railroad Station is a long low, one-story building designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. It is composed of three sections: a tall central main block with brick end chimneys, flanked by identical lower wings. Each section has a hipped roof, originally covered with Spanish tile, now asphalt-shingled. Exposed wooden rafters, or outriggers, are found under the broad overhangs. The building rests on a stone foundation with polished rose granite above grade and has a brick watertable defined by a sandstone belt course. The rest of the walls are stuccoed, set off by red brick quoins at the corners and window enframements. The main doorway, which has two sets of glazed wooden doors with transoms, is recessed in the center of the balanced facade. Its broad sandstone lintel rests on brick pilasters on either side.

Above the door is an arched wall gable with a shaped Spanish hood, supported by stepped wooden consoles with carved scrolls. Under the hood is a clock face elaborated by a polychrome terra cotta relief of dolphins and scallop shells, the whole outlined with red brick. Flanking the main doors are tall tripartite, double-hung windows set off from their transoms by another sandstone belt course. The wing facades and end elevations display paired out-swinging wood casements and have sandstone sills and lintels. The rear elevation, which mimics the facade in its design, faces the railroad tracks. The fenestration is slightly different, with two groups of double doors opposite the tall facade windows and a projecting bay across from the main entrance. An extended overhang, created by connecting the rear slopes of the wing roofs, is supported by chamfered wooden braces, set on sandstone wall corbels.

The original appearance and layout of the building can be documented from historic photographs and the architect's plans. A brief review of the original interior plan will help explicate the changes that have taken place since the station closed c. 1965. As designed and built, the waiting room occupied the full length of the main block. A ticket booth was set in the bay across from the entrance. The rest rooms were located at either end of the waiting room, next to the women's retiring room on the right and the men's smoking room of the left. These rooms were actually in the wings, next to open passageways that ran through the center of each wing. The openings were wide enough to accommodate wagons and carriages. The baggage room and express company offices were located beyond the passages at the ends of the wings. Separate foundations and basements underneath these rooms were not contiguous with the rest of the building.

Although the porte cochere at the main entrance was removed sometime before 1958, other changes took place when the building was converted to a newspaper plant by the Naugatuck Daily News about 1965. Both passageways were closed in and new basements excavated below them. On the facade, a modern metal door with transom and sidelight was installed in the left-hand opening; the right-hand opening was stuccoed over. Since the press was located in the basement, grade-level hatchways and an electric hoist were installed outside the front of the building to facilitate storage and loading of newsprint. The only other permanent structural change was the addition of an interior staircase to the basement; it runs along the inside front wall of the waiting room, to the left of the main doors.

Interior changes that did occur are mostly reversible: the ribbed barrel vaulted ceiling, which is suspended over the waiting room, is now hidden by a dropped acoustical ceiling; and terrazzo floors are covered with asphalt tile. Except for the southwest corner of the waiting room which was partitioned off as an office, this space remains open and relatively intact. Its original interior finishes, such as wide oak trim around doors and windows and plastered walls, are found throughout the building.

The ticket booth is no longer extant, but all four of the original oak benches designed for this room are still in the building. A particularly notable original feature is the marble fireplace at the south end of the waiting room. The marble niche above the mantel holds a bust of Charles Goodyear. Much of the layout of the north wing remains, including the "smoking room" and rest room, both with their original finishes. There are office partitions along the west wall of the south wing, but most original interior walls remain in place. The former baggage and express rooms have painted brick exterior walls.

Sources: Blackwell, Dana J. (former Municipal Historian) Interview, April 18, 1998; Blackwell, Dana J. and the Naugatuck Historical Society. Images of America Naugatuck. Dover, New Hampshire: Arcadia Publishing, 1996; Johnson, Allen, ed. Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. I. New York: Charles Scribner & Sons, 1928; Simon, Ann (president Naugatuck Historical Society) Interview, April 18, 1998; Whiffen, Marcus and Frederick Koeper, American Architecture, Vol. 2: 1860-1976. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1983; Yankee Iron, The Eastern Malleable Iron Company, 1952.

Compiled by: Jan Cunningham of Cunningham Preservation Assoc, LLC, 1998

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* The Hills Restaurant

* Witkoski Associates

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