Smith Brothers’ Carriage Shop

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Originally the Smith Brothers' Carriage Shop
Originally the Smith Brothers’ Carriage Shop

Most noted as the Smith Brothers Carriage Shop, this structure of simple Italianate style is unique and rare, being of only one story. The original building, burned in a fire in 1846, was constructed by James Bishop in 1835 as a wagon or carriage factory powered by a 13’ overshot water wheel of a brook draining from Fairy Glen and crossing State Street. This brook is now flows unnoticed through a culvert under the road.

J. Boardman Smith

Before 1835 there had been a grist mill on the site; by April 24, 1837 Benjamin Tuttle had a wagon factory standing on the east side of State Street. The current building was constructed in 1846 by John F. Bronson possibly as a match factory which was lost to fire within a year.  A map of 1855 shows several match factories in the area.  A map of 1852 shows the Bronson Spoon on the general site, but it is not know if this was housed in the brick structure. In 1856, the property was conveyed to George W. Smith, and housed the Smith Brother’ Carriage Shop. The Smith brothers, George W. and Jude B. (J.Boardman), used the Quinnipiac River for steam power. While there is speculation that this building was once part of the Underground Railroad, due to a plaque found in the building engraved “Runaway Hole”, there is little evidence to support that claim. The term ‘runaway hole’ may refer to a method constructed to encourage drainage. By 1880, the carriage shop was not prospering and by 1900 had ceased to operate. Sometime around then the property was conveyed to Angelo Ghiselli and became a restaurant, then turned into apartments which, by the 1930’s, served as housing for brick workers.  The house is also rumored to have been the scene of a ‘scandalous murder’ during the 1930s. (from notes by Lucille Wiedmann and Lucy Brusic)

An anonymous note in the files states that ‘it is said that the section of North Haven, from Smith’s Brick shop up to Woodings place was called “Succor City”, families caught and ate so many succors.’ [fish]

[This was possibly The white sucker (Catostomus commersonii) is a freshwater Cypriniform fish inhabiting the upper Midwest and Northeast in North America but is also found as far south as Georgia and New Mexico in the south and west. The fish is commonly known as a “sucker” due to its fleshy papillose lips that suck up organic matter and aufwuchs: the collection of small animals and plants that adhere to open surfaces in aquatic environments,] from the bottom of rivers and streams.

Other common names for the white sucker include bay fishbrook sucker, common sucker, and mullet. ~Wikipedia]