In every town there are parts of it that go by a different name, whether it’s a Census-Designated Place village like Moodus in East Haddam or just an unofficial name of a commercial center like Hopewell in Glastonbury.
The history of the Hopewell name in Glastonbury is simple but it shows how an off-hand comment can change impact the history of a town for centuries. Hopewell is a small hamlet in the Southeast Part of Glastonbury. There’s a school, firehouse some shops and road that all use the Hopewell name.
The name comes from a mill, just off Hopewell Road near Cotton Hollow in South Glastonbury. One of the oldest industrial sites in town, as one of the first sawmills was supposedly built in the same location. However, Hopewell Mill came about in 1836, built by Amos and Sprowell Dean.
One day, one of the Deans came home and his wife asked what they would name the mill.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “But we’ll hope well on the mill whatever we call it.”
And the name stuck.
Originally, the mill produced woolen goods. But in the mid 1800’s, it became Hollister and Glazer, who produced uniforms for the Union Army in the Civil War. Jump ahead 100 years and the property was purchased by JT Slocomb Company, which produced aircraft parts. This company rebuilt part of the original dam and expanded the mill to over 19 buildings. Like most of the mills in town, the company eventually folded and the town purchased the property. The tore down everything with the exception of the original walls and smokestack and designated the area Matson Hill Open Space.
Only the first floor and smokestack remain from the original structure. Recently, the walls were saved from demolition by the Glastonbury Historical Society, who paid to repair them. On one side of the clearing, concrete foundations can still be seen in the walls.
The nearby Slab Gut Brook Dam was used as a water source in case of fire back in the day. Along Roaring Brook is a concrete wall with pipes sticking out.