Rocky Hill Foundry

Description

The Rocky Hill Foundry, operated by the Connecticut Foundry Company, is an iconic abandoned location located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. The once-thriving foundry is now falling apart and being reclaimed by nature.

History of the Rocky Hill Foundry

Rocky Hill was settled by Europeans in 1650 and quickly became a popular town for operating mills. In 1667, Reverend Gershom Bulkeley, minister of the First Congressional Church in Wethersfield, constructed a grist mill at the easterly waterfall on Dividend Brook. This waterfall is now called Dividend Brook Waterfall and the remains of those old mills can still be seen. Several gristmills followed located just off the Connecticut River. The first foundry was established in 1854 by William Sage Butler and Robert Sugden Jr., just 10 years after the town was officially incorporated.

The Connecticut Foundry Company was established in 1865. The company built the Rocky Hill Foundry on the banks of the Connecticut River at the end of Glastonbury Avenue in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. The company produced a wide variety of goods, mostly made of cast iron. These items included oil burners, piston-ring moldings, lawn mower parts, cooking equipment, gun parts, and more. The Foundry had some well-known companies as customers including Remington Rand, Stately, GE, Dictaphone, and others. Some items produced by the foundry can be viewed at the Rocky Hill
Historical Society. Other people have mentioned that Rocky Hill Foundry items are often available on eBay.

Over the years, the foundry did burn down twice but was rebuilt both times. These fires occurred in 1865 and 1918. Considering the business was producing great products and making good money, the re-builds were justified. Many other foundries and mills in the area burned down and never were rebuilt. 

The US labor movement reached its pinnacle in the 1970s, when sit-ins, wildcat strikes, and work stoppages that affected employees in all sectors of the economy expanded across the nation. A startling fact was discovered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in their accounting of the year 1970: there had been 5,716 strikes with 3 million workers in just that one year. Labor unrest occurred at the Rocky Hill Foundry throughout the 70s and 80s. In 1983, the labor strikes had become violent at the foundry and the owners decided to shut down operations.

What remains today of the abandoned Rocky Hill Foundry (as of December 2022)

Much of the foundry has been demolished to make way for re-development. Riverfront Future Partners acquired the 10-acre property in 2003 and has struggled to develop the property. As of 2022, some of the buildings including three massive silos remain. It is unsure what the future of the foundry property will be. Time will tell!

Specs

  • Year Established: 1865
  • Year Abandoned: 1983
  • Original Function: Foundy which produced cast iron items

Location

  • Address: Meadow Road
  • Town: Rocky Hill
  • State: Connecticut
  • GPS: 41.663194, -72.630028
  • Parking Notes: The foundry is privately owned and is not open to visitors. That said, visitors can see some cool abandoned structures right from Meadow Road. Park at Surwilo Park and then walk up to the foundry ruins just a few hundred feet away.
  • Parking Directions: HERE
  • Location Directions: HERE

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