Broad Brook Opera House – #ThursdayDoors

The Opera House from across the street (where the mill would have been).

Several weeks ago, while on my way to our local lumberyard, an accident had closed the road I was traveling on. Police on the scene at the nearest intersection were routing people to the right. I asked for directions, and they began with “continue down this road and turn left between the dam and the Opera House.”

Anyone who participates in Norm Frampton’s fun weekly blogfest called Thursday Doors know how those directions were received. Every week, Norm challenges door aficionados from around the world to gather pictures of interesting doors. He invites these people to write about these doors and share a link via his website. If you enjoy looking at doors, marveling at entrances and wondering about the buildings around us, you will enjoy visiting Norm’s site.

My entry today is the Opera House in Broad Brook, Connecticut. Broad Brook is a village area within East Windsor and, like many towns in north central Connecticut, it has a history that includes textile manufacture. The Broad Brook Woolen Co. built two dams on Broad Brook, creating a Mill Pond on the east side of Main Street and a smaller pond behind the mill building. The company was very supportive of the village. They built houses and buildings along Main Street, many of which remain (and might be featured here in the near future). In 1892, the Broad Brook Woolen Co. built a two-story building across from the mill dam. According to the CT Historical Society:

“The first floor of the building next to the Broad Brook Mill and dam served as a sales room for cloth The company donated the second floor as a community meeting place — and over the years it hosted everything from minstrel shows and military balls to basketball games and card parties. Since 2003, the St. Martha Players, originally from Enfield, have performed there, and fittingly, the troupe changed its name to the Opera House Players.”

The Opera House Players recently moved back to Enfield (the town to the north of East Windsor). The timing is unclear, but the Opera House has been renovated, and now appears to be available for rent for weddings and other social events.

The gallery includes several views of the Opera House, and the Mill Pond.


70 thoughts on “Broad Brook Opera House – #ThursdayDoors

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        1. It’s a sensitive issue around here. Letting them fail, in some cases, improves the flow and habitat. In other areas, the dams that might fail can cause flooding of residential areas. Almost all of these are/were privately owned, and built without any type of permission. Need power? Build a dam. In some cases, after they electrified the mills, they built generator stations below the dams.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. All of these small dams are a part of the aging infrastructure that no one wants to address. Just the engineering, paperwork and permits to begin a project are hideously expensive. Best just to ignore the problem and leave it for the next generation.

            Liked by 2 people

  1. Love that ghost door and the exterior light centered in the second floor double windows. The light is lined up with the lower one, but what an odd place for it!

    And that car!! What a hoot! Maybe just an advertising gimmick? Or used as a ‘shuttle’ for some of their patrons?

    The dam sites are so beautiful. Love seeing all the geese enjoying the water in what is probably a very safe place for them.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. I think maybe the car belonged to the opera house long ago. I think the restorations might have moved some stuff around. Some things are quirky but I guess it all works. Good job on the ghost door. I think you beat your buddy 🙂

      Like

  2. I’ve not heard of a ghost door before, so is it the one on the right with the steps or the other one that looks like a window? I really like the pictures of the geese and the dam. Beautiful photos, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI! my friend. Now I’m interested in Dan’s response to you! What I saw as the ‘ghost’ door is above the lower level double windows. I’ll race you to the finish line Lois! 😂
      🐾Ginger 🐾

      Liked by 2 people

  3. There’s something scary to me about dams. Natural waterfalls etc not, but man made dams give me the creeps. . .probably a childhood trauma I don’t remember whereas you said New England is full of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes I would love to see what it’s like inside. In the meantime I’m still getting my head around the idea of a mill building an opera house for the town. I mean providing or subsidizing housing for the workers made sense back then, but entertainment? Isn’t that someone else’s job? No matter, I think it’s pretty darn cool they did that.
    My fave shot this week: car on the porch. Now there’s something we don’t see too often ;-)
    Fun post Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

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