Official Waterbury – Thursday Doors

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

Believe it or not, I have come to the end of my walk around Waterbury. As I was dividing up the doors, I decided to leave the official buildings for this last look.

Though not an official government building, the Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center is an important feature in Waterbury. This is the only museum in Connecticut dedicated to collecting and exhibiting Connecticut artists and sculptors. According to one description I found:

Exhibits in the ground floor galleries reveal the history of Waterbury and surrounding towns. New additions to the history exhibit include an interactive display about the region’s slavery history. Recent additions to the art collections include a gallery display about Alexander Calder and a “Giant Critter” designed by Calder in the museum’s courtyard.

My favorite building in today’s gallery is the Waterbury Courthouse. The building is an interesting marriage between a modern government building and an almost century old commercial structure. The curved brick portion of the courthouse was the headquarters of the American Brass Company for over 50 years. For much of its existence, the American Brass Company was the largest brass manufacturer in the country. Founded in 1893, with the consolidation of several existing brass mills in the Waterbury area.

American Brass was acquired by Anaconda Copper, a Midwest mining company, in 1922. The acquisition allowed Anaconda to secure a customer for its copper (brass, if you don’t know, is a mixture of copper and zinc). The building rounds the curved corner of Grand and Meadow Streets and stand opposite Waterbury Union Station.

Across from the courthouse is Library Park. The description of this park is disconcerting. The material I found say that the park is,

“The site of a former burying ground from 1686 – 1890. When it became a park in the early 1900’s, some of the bodies were removed and 47 of the headstones were put in the wall along Meadow Street.”

I’m not sure I am comfortable with that.

Waterbury, like several other historic industrial cities in Connecticut is struggling to find an economic model that works as well in the 21st century as the one it had in the 18th and 19th centuries. Reliance on a single heavy industry is not the answer, the US Northeast is far too expensive for that option, but industrial areas figure prominently in Waterbury’s current 10-year plan. In addition, the city hopes to find recreational uses along its waterfront and take advantage of existing architecture to provide housing options for all income levels. I enjoyed the time, albeit nearly 40 years ago, that I spent in Waterbury. I hope they are successful in their redevelopment.

If you are in a hurry and don’t wish to scroll through the comments, click to Jump to the comment form.

127 comments

  1. Another enjoyable jaunt, Dan, thank you. I especially love the photos of the Courthouse. How it frames the sky through its openings is truly beautiful. I hope you have a great day.😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These are incredible buildings, Dan. And profiled against snow brings up their best side :)
    I love the glass door and I love the old doors, the postcard and the old black and white photos, so dramatic, but most of all I love the reflection in glass.

    Here’s my post for today. I promised someone a post on Bucharest. I can not, under no circumstances, publish a post without words…. As if my fingers get itchy.
    https://alluringcreations.co.za/wp/vlad-tepes-bucharest-medieval-curse-out-of-context/
    Kind thanks :)

    Like

    • I don’t think you are the only one, Judy. I’ve noticed people showing up as “…is now following you” – people who have been following me for years. When I first got here, I had to fight my way in, ID, password – at my own place.

      Thank you so much for finding me.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love the main entrance to American Brass and the marriage of American Brass to new section of courthouse. I don’t know how, but it works! Doors, windows and buildings today all deserve a round of applause!
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the lovely tour of Waterbury, Dan. The modern courthouse is a very attractive building and I love that magnificent entrance. The gazebo at Library Park looks really nice, it’s a great name for a park but I wouldn’t like to lie on the grass there reading a book knowing someone’s bones could be underneath. I could sit on a bench, though. I had to follow your blog again, Dan, so there might have been a glitch somewhere this week. Here’s my post, thanks for hosting.
    https://jeanreinhardt.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/thursday-doors-more-from-blackrock/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Jean, and thanks for finding me again. Several people lost their connection to my blog. I don’t know what WordPress is up to, but it seems to be having a bad day. I’m with you, I’d sit in the gazebo, but I wouldn’t want to lie on the ground. I don’t understand why they left so many bodied buried there. I know, when they built a reservoir about 20 miles away, they relocated two entire cemeteries from the area that was flooded behind the dam.

      You have some wonderful doors today.

      Like

    • Thanks Paul. I think they did a good job with that courthouse. I tried to find out if there had been pressure to preserve the American Brass building. If there was, I couldn’t find it.

      Thanks for bringing us a bit of France.

      Like

  5. The marriage of American Brass and the courthouse is growing on me….. I’m just glad the building was saved. It has such a ‘coliseum’ look to it–very pretty. I do enjoy how you provide current building photos and those from NRHP. That’s a lot of research, Dan, but I love it. Thanks for all the amazing buildings and doors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like these, Lois. The NRHP is a crapshoot. Sometimes, like with Waterbury, the nomination form is bursting with photos and information. Other times, it looks like someone’s school project. I was glad to find a picture of the American Brass building before the courthouse addition. I love the research, so this is really my pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Dan – a lot of history here … fun to see and to think about the changes occurring as a country develops its identity – those be solid buildings! I’m glad they’re saved and are being re-worked. I’d like to visit Mattatuck Museum and see more of Calder’s works – and also to read more about ‘Larry’ – the skeleton and ‘Fortune’ – perhaps the owner. Lots of grand doors in these magnificent buildings – all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m hoping that museums will be reopening soon, Hilary. Some of the larger ones have had limited hours since August, but most of the smaller ones would lose more money if they tried to open, given how few people they could accommodate. I would like to visit that museum.

      Anything that preserves some of these old buildings is a good think in my book. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I look forward to your report back when you’ve had a chance to visit the museum … ours aren’t open yet … soon I think, but a few weeks minimum. Cheers – Hilary

        Liked by 1 person

    • We do have some nice courthouses. Given the timing, I think this one likely benefited from the fact that our Governor at the time had grown up in Waterbury and still resided there. The state office building is the “John Rowland State Office Building.” I am so glad they incorporated the American Brass headquarters. It’s an odd merger, but I think it works.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good pics Dan. So the Anaconda swallowed American Brass. That seems like familiar economic history. I remember Calder. I don’t think I knew he was based in CT. I think I prefer his mobiles to the spinners that a popular for yard art. Now you have me thinking. I might have to have a beer or two and think this out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a link to his sculpture a couple of people up, John. I did some consulting for a small brass mill in the early 80s. Waterbury Rolling Mills. Their owner was a commodity trader. He often got stuck buying copper and zinc at a premium, so he bought a brass distributor in New York to dump his overpriced brass on. By the time they cut and processed the brass, he had recovered his trading losses.

      It’s a crazy world out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, did you see? Some links in the comments create fancy boxes to click on. Lovely touch!

    You have mighty fine doors on offer today. I really like them all. But my favourite bit, as you can imagine, is the MM museum! A very pretty building and great letters. :D

    I continue my tour of Torre Alfina in which we reach the one castle door. And it’s closed. But what a door!

    https://mexcessive.photo.blog/2021/03/25/thursday-doors-25-3-21-torre-alfina-2/

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know how / why the boxes are here. Perhaps a WordPress adventure. I like it. I’m wondering if I’ll be able to capture the titles now for the recap. I’m heading over to your place.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, the economy – can imagine that would be a big concern to the city builders now. Love the red building – surprisingly, it is not such a heavyweight building, as most red buildings seem. I like the airy -ness of all the windows, and the big Arched door is a great feature! Also the fence on the right side of your gallery is attractive!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I wonder where they took the bodies from the former graveyard of what is now Library Park . There are a couple of places in downtown Los Angeles where that happened and I’d like to know where the bodies went .

    Liked by 1 person

    • The article I read didn’t say. I know some older burial grounds in other towns were relocated, but here they only moved “some of the bodies” which makes me wonder.

      Like

  11. I’m looking at your reflecting doors and laughing.. you shoot it like me.. all off to the side, staying out of the shot. That gazebo is nice, and that state office building looks like a piece of modern art. Also, that curve on the courthouse building makes it a standout for me. That was some walk🙂. Nice educational post as usual🙂.

    Pat

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Did you hear about the final decision on the crash of “Nine O’ Nine” at Bradley? After over a year of investigation, and was reported to be poor maintenance and pilot error. When the engine went out, a witness said the pilot froze and then made a poor choice of how to glide in.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. They really integrated the courthouse with the brass company strikingly well! Interesting how people come to decisions to move graves for progress. I don’t feel like I’d want to put a park there. Kind of like building houses on old battlefields. Just not a fan of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Natalie. I am glad they incorporated the old building into the new courthouse, and I’m glad they kept the original entrance. Of course, it’s no longer the main entrance it once was, but it’s still beautiful.

      Speaking of beautiful, you brought us some lovely doors and interesting history this week. Thanks for joining us,.

      Like

  14. Yikes. I’m with you, Dan — that description IS a bit disconcerting. On the bright side, you gave us another great dose of doors this week. The brass ones are particularly striking. I like the gazebo as well. Hope you’re having a nice weekend, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s getting warmer, Paul and we are enjoying that. The description is unsettling, but it’s a common story around the old cities, particularly the old industrial cities. I am so happy they preserved those big brass doors.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. The doorway on the brick portion of the building is outstanding! The marriage looks weird to me. I wish they used brick to match it better, but I imagine that would have cost a lot more than it did.

    The gazebo is lovely even in the winter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad they kept the door in the historic portion. The marriage is an odd one, but it works for me. I think it benefits from the curvature of the older building. I would like to see the gazebo in the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

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