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).
The week before Thanksgiving, a former coworker / fellow retiree had lunch. Long story, but it was supposed to end with a hot fudge sundae. The place we had lunch didn’t have any on the menu. We went to a Dairy Queen (US soft serve) – they were open, but only for takeout. My friend is from Wethersfield, CT. He mentioned that there was a small ice cream shop in historic Old Wethersfield. Hey, when you’re retired, and no longer bound by protocol, time isn’t the issue.
Wethersfield has long claimed the status of Connecticut’s first town. If you’ve been following me long enough, you might remember that Windsor, Connecticut (just south of where I live) also claims to be the State’s first town. Let’s leave that debate for another time and talk about a claim to fame that Historic Wethersfield owns without dispute – “The Cradle of American Seed Companies.”
At one point in America’s early history, there were ten seed companies in Wethersfield. They had farms; they grew crops. They gathered, milled and packaged seeds and they sold them throughout New England and beyond as America expanded. There were never actually ten companies in operation. As the chart below illustrates, it all began with Joseph Belden and his brother James. James operated the Wethersfield Seed Gardens in 1820.
Much of the company was destroyed by fire in 1834. Franklin G. Comstock and his son bought the Seed Gardens in 1838 along with a small inventory of seeds. Butler Strong joined them and they purchased $1,200 worth of seeds from London. They were the founders of Comstock Ferre – a company that existed until 2010, briefly went out of business but is operated today by a seed retailer. Thomas Griswold formed an independent seed company in 1845 which operated successfully until 1931 when it became part of Comstock Ferre.
Butler Strong started his own company. He sold it to Richard Robbins. Charles C. Hart worked for that company for over a dozen years. If you’re still following, that’s important, it might be on the exam. Meanwhile, in 1877: Egbert Decker began a wholesale seed business on Marsh Street, selling it in 1894 to Charles C. Hart, Welles & Co. In 1897: Hart Welles & Co. became The Charles C. Hart Seed Company which remains in business today.
Today, The Charles C. Hart Seed Company operates out of their office / warehouse in Old Wethersfield. The original Comstock Ferre building as well as the Joseph Belden are still standing, although the town has tried to demolish them. Fortunately, preservationist have fought the town to prevent that action. Those buildings are the subject of my first set of doors from Historic Old Wethersfield.
I hope you enjoy the pictures in the gallery. I also hope you have a chance to follow some of the links in the comments below that will lead you to the doors by the other participants. Note, the reference to ‘protocol’ is so I could also count this post for Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan challenge. The prompt was supplied by John at The Sound of One Hand Typing. Thanks John!
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