A Short Walk in Simsbury

Welcome to Thursday Doors! This is a weekly challenge for people who love doors and architecture to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos, drawings, or other images or stories from around the world. If you’d like to join us, simply create your own Thursday Doors post each (or any) week and then share a link to your post in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time). If you like, you can add our badge to your post.

Writing Challenge Update: We have almost three dozen photos to choose from. If you want to add to the gallery, you still have time. Entries will be accepted through this weekend. On Monday, May 1st, the writing begins. The process is simple: Pick a door – write a story/poem or anything of any length – post what you write on your blog and link to the Writing Challenge for 2023 page. At various point during the month of May (at least every Thursday and Sunday) I will update the table of writing entries. You can write and contribute as many stories/poems as you like!

If you don’t have a blog, but still want to submit an entry, send it to me in an email (noFacilities@gmail.com) and I’ll post it on your behalf. Please include enough information for me to attribute the writing to you.

In advance of Monday, I want to thank everyone who has contributed an inspirational photo for us to use.

As for my doors today, the gallery includes images from two buildings and one manufacturing complex that sit near the same corner in Simsbury, Connecticut. Dyno Nobel is the current owner of what began in th emid-1800s as Ensign Bickford. In 1831, William Bickford invented the safety fuse in Cornwall, England, which revolutionized the mining industry by improving safety dramatically. Later, in the early 1900s, they invented Primacord (which became a functional name for all detonating cord). In 2003, the complex, trademarks and processes were sold to Dyno Nobel.

Since the primary product of Ensign Bickford was explosive material, the entire complex was made up of many independent buildings. That way, if there was an explosion, the destruction would be limited to one building.

In 1910, Joseph R. Ensign, president of Ensign Bickford at the time, build what is now called the Ensign House. It was his family’s primary residence from 1910 until the early 1950s. In 1955, it served as the parish house for the First Church of Christ, which is located directly across the street. Today, the Ensign House has a restaurant and meeting rooms and some apartments.

The church was formed in 1683, and like many of the churches I’ve featured in the past, there have been several buildings (the “Church” refers to the Congregation). The current building was constructed in 1830.

I hope you enjoy these doors and I hope you will take a few minutes to check out some of the other doors linked here today. If you miss any, you can return on Sunday for the Weekly Recap.

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

If you like magical realism with suspense, action and a bit of family sarcasm, you will enjoy these books:

The Evil You Choose
When Evil Chooses You

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All available on Kindle Unlimited!


  1. Great photos Dan. You always select the best angles with the best light for your subject. Love the first image!!

    The brick work of the Manufacturing building is amazing it looks very well maintained.
    Thank you for the interesting history of Ensign Bickford in the Simsbury.
    Thank you Dan for your work hosting ThursdayDoors.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Prior to the fuse cord, I think they were using black powder as a fuse. That was very dangerous. I love that last house, but I can’t imagine living there only with my family.


  2. […] The Thursday Doors is a weekly challenge at Dan Antion’s site No Facility for people who love doors and architecture to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos, drawings, or other images or stories from around the world. If you’d like to join us, simply create your own Thursday Doors post and then share a link to your post in the comments in Dan’s post. […]


    • Thanks Miriam. The church is almost 200 years old, and it does seem to be well maintained. It’s an anchor in the landscape of this town as well. When you come around the bend and up the hill, you know you’ve reached the town. The Ensign house is amazing, and I’m glad it has found a new purpose that should keep it around for a long time. I can’t imagine having it as a single residence.

      Thanks for joining us today!


  3. Hi Dan – I love the look of the buildings – very British – red brick – while the church is definitely American. So pleased to read about William Bickford and his life in Cornwall … and then Dyno Nobel … interesting town. Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe he wanted to bring a little bit of England with him. This was (and still is) a very important business in this area. That’s one of the oldest churches around here. We did have a thing for wooden buildings, especially in the early 1800s. 20 or so years after this church was built, they seemed to have switched to brick, as brick making was a big industry in and around Hartford.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a very impressive looking church. The Ensign House is one handsome structure indeed. Ensign Bickford was certainly a forward-thinking man. All those individual buildings was genius….and still in use today!

    This was a nice tour. You never disappoint!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. There have been several explosions at the factory campus. Lives were lost, and we can only guess that more lives would have been lost if this had been one big factory. The church is one of the oldest ones around here. I give them credit for the good job they’ve done maintaining it.


  5. Wow. All the Ensign House needs is a moat and a few gargoyles; it makes quite a statement, imposing and grand but not exactly homey. The Dyno Nobel buildings have old-time character — those office buildings are quite a contrast to our usual business high-rise! Church and business: always the story of a community. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha – if it were still a single-family home, I’d warn you about suggesting a moat – they might build one. I can’t imagine having all that space for my family. Almost every community in New England began with a church. Settlers would push out farther then they could travel to church, and they would build their own. This one is one of the oldest.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Looking up at that house at night, I imagine it could look haunted. It’s an odd looking structure to have been built as a single-family home. I think it works better as a restaurant and apartments.

      You have a very nice collection today!


  6. Beautiful bricks, and doors, especially deep red bricks and dark green doors.

    I admit, I almost forgot that it was Thursday and wrote my poem without a thought to the doors (gasp!), but realised it in time and here they are, the special Tuscany doors sent in by my visiting friends with whom we spent an evening and a day and yesterday even went to the Tarot Garden together. Now they are off and keep sending doors. Only today they sent seven from Lucca. Mighty grateful. https://manjameximexcessive6.wordpress.com/2023/04/27/day-27-thursday-doors-27-4-23/#Tuscany#DoorGifts#Siena#Lucca#Arcidosso

    Liked by 1 person

    • Could you imagine living in the Ensign House? It’s a very interesting building, but I think it works better as apartments. I am always impressed when I see industrial buildings that have some interesting details in the brick. No one does that today. At best, they try to give a building an interesting paint job.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I could not imagine living in that entire house, no. I like compact spaces (even though I always long for a bigger workspace). It would make great apartments.
        It’s true. Old industrial buildings were made with pride and care. Now almost nothing is it seems.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Were green doors popular then? The auxiliary building looks so pretty with green doors, new (I’m guessing?) wooden steps and those beautiful columns. Are they considered Doric columns? Smart thinking to have separate buildings to contain both lives and fallout in case of an explosion. This is quite the corner for photography!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think they are Doric, Lois, although it seems they are Greek Doric (I had to look this up). They don’t have a base element. In the 1830s, I’m not sure any colors beyond white and red were common. I’ll have a few more photos from this area next week.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Some great brickwork indeed, Dan. I like Ensign House and the church steeple is interesting with its three sections. I always chuckle a little at how different the building style is there vs. in Arizona. Keeps life interesting. We’re going to be in Philly in May, so I’ll have a chance to stock up on doors there and architecture like yours. :-) My featured doors are classic too but in a very different way from yours!

    Thursday Doors…classic doors


    Liked by 2 people

    • You have some wonderful classics today, Janet. Philadelphia is an excellent source of doors and architecture. I haven’t been there in 15 years. I hope you have a nice visit, and I look forward to your photos.


  9. I had to chuckle a bit at that “business plan” regarding potential explosions…let’s have more buildings to have them in rather than confine all of our work to just one. Back then, it probably was very sound strategy. The Ensign House is a very cool looking building and it is nice to hear it is still thriving to this day. Great collection of photos, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Bruce. I think there were explosions at that site as recently as the 1980s, so it might still be a good plan ;-) The Ensign House is interesting. I can’t imagine having the whole place to myself and family.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Simsbury is an intriguing and pristine looking place, Dan. Thanks for the stroll.
    Also thanks for updating the page for the inspiration doors (and including the link). I must be in a weird headspace, because several of them had me thinking “vampire.” LOL, and you know I don’t tend to write that kind of thing. o_O

    My doors this week relate to things in my weekend blog serial ( #ReadFree ) — and we’re discussing names for a very unusual kitten. Everyone is welcome. Hugs.

    Wednesday Writing & #ThursdayDoors — Name the Kitten!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m never certain what you might come up with, Teagan, but I don’t normally associate you with vampires.

      I enjoyed your post very much. I hope you find a name for that kitten.


    • Thanks Robbie. I;m looking forward to the challenge, too. This is one of the oldest churches in this area. It dates to a time when the church was almost the local government entity.


  11. I love the history. I also love those red stones a few of the buildings were built from. They don’t exactly look like bricks unless they’re oversized. Stunning, regardless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this, Pam. I can’t be sure, but that might be Connecticut Brownstone. It was quarried about 20 miles from this location. It shows up in New York City and as far away as San Francisco.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It was a good plan. There have been several explosions, one as recently as the 1980s. I took these pictures a few weeks ago. The trees are much farther along now.

      I liked your doors and your garden head.


  12. Good pics, Dan! Some boxy designs, to be sure, but still impressive. I can’t deny being partial to the shots you’ve given us of curved doorways.


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