Town History the Way You Want It
East Haddam People, Places and Events
In 1967, East Haddam residents voted to destroy the the Old Moodus Center in pursuit of progress and "free" federal funding. Despite rosy predictions of economic progress, it didn't work out so well. This award-winning series traces how town residents exchanged their historic village for a small, ugly shopping plaza. The village was changed forever.
We had this (top). We exchanged it for this (bottom).
In its heyday, during the 1940s and 1950s, Moodus was called the "Catskills of Connecticut." During the summer season, people visiting the nearly 40 area resorts quadrupled East Haddam's population to about 20,000 people.
Many resorts started as farms in the late 1800s and early 1900s,. To augment income, farm families started to host their urban relatives and friends, primarily from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and parts of Connecticut.
The resorts, boarding houses, and camps of East Haddam catered to different ethnic and religious groups: Christian, Jewish and Bohemian. Ranging in size from sleeping a few dozen up to more than 350, they all offered clean country air and easy fellowship; lots of food and drink; pools, ponds, and rivers; sports and outdoor pastimes; homegrown and professional entertainment.
Starting in the mid-1800s, and continuing for more than 100 years, the people of Moodus manufactured cotton twine in as many as twelve cotton mills. The mills were built along the banks of the modest but sharply inclined Moodus River, provinding the water power they needed to operate.
The fascinating story of the Moodus mills includes the people who built them, invented groundbreaking processes and machines, and labored in a punishing industrial environment. The owners were mostly Yankees, the workers mostly immigrants.
The Story of Us
The East Haddam Historical Society has been telling stories since 1963
Since its founding in 1963, the Historical Society has protected, curated, and presented the stories of East Haddam's notable residents, the local places that we love, and the issues and events that made our river town. Watch how the town and the society have changed throughout the years in this mini-documentary by resident Ken Simon.
Photo by Ken Simon