Close-up on Redding
THE GILBERT & BENNETT MILL has a long history in Redding, as is shown, at top, in a photo from the late 1890s. Two buildings in the photo -- the Sawtooth and Weaving buildings -- are being preserved in a redevelopment. Mill machinery, above, is being incorporated into plans for shops, restaurants, housing and offices. (January 16, 2007)
ORIGINS: Originally part of Fairfield, the area was settled in 1714 when Read, a lawyer and land speculator, secured a land grant from local sachem Chickens Warrups. Granted parish rights in 1722 and incorporated as a town in 1767.
WIRE FACTORY: While the town's smaller industries had all but vanished by the mid-19th century, the Gilbert & Bennett Manufacturing Co. in the Georgetown section proved the exception. The company, founded in 1818, produced all kinds of wire mesh and remained in business until 1989.
STORMFIELD: Mark Twain only lived at Stormfield, his Redding estate, for two years before his death in 1910, but his legacy lives on in the Mark Twain Library. Besides donating books, Twain also raised funds for it by instituting a $1 tax on all male guests to his home.
FAMOUS RESIDENTS: Some of Redding's notable residents have been actors Hope Lange, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy; producer/director Barry Levinson; musicians Mary Travers, Daryl Hall and Meat Loaf; author Flannery O'Connor; television commentator Larry Kudlow; and political advisor Dick Morris.
SOURCES: The Hartford Courant; historyofredding.com; townofreddingct.org; Connecticut Place Names.