The first site within Cotton Hollow is Pratt’s Forge, also known as Glastonbury Anchor Works. The remains represent the history of the location but it also represents the lost industry of Glastonbury: Shipbuilding.
With the Connecticut River as it’s west-most boundary, Glastonbury was one of the biggest shipbuilding towns in the state, launching boats from Log Landing in South Glastonbury in the area of Pease Lane. Local legend states that the industry died when the railroad came to Connecticut and rail bridges were built across the Connecticut River, therefore making it impossible for the masted ships to traverse the waterway.
While the site is best known for its anchors, it originally began as a smaller forge that produced smaller goods such as farm equipment. The forge first operated farther downstream (where the remains can still be seen) but when the Hartford Manufacturing Company built its mills and dams, the forge relocated to a new spot.
Eventually, it became an anchor forge with a handful owners before George Pratt – once a worker in the forge itself – purchased it. It produced anchors for much of the latter half of the 1800’s but by 1893, the building was in disrepair.
The remains of Glastonbury Anchor Works are still quite visible. The dam, while now broken, still stands on a large rock with Roaring Brook cutting through it. The sluicegate can still be seen on the south bank, although it no longer functions. Much of the foundation of the building can still be seen as well, as large stones line the stream and parts of the sluiceway remain where the water was released back into the brook.
The bank is also covered with slag, a metal byproduct created during the iron refinery process. If you look close enough, you can also find small pieces of charcoal used to mold the iron as well.
Pratt’s Forge is located directly behind the Grange Pool. Park at the preserve off Hopewell Road and follow the trial left.