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Historic Branchville, CT Pictures

Early view of Branchville Station in the 1850's. The branchline that led to the name "Branchville" was not completed until 1870. This station area view provides some very interesting information...The store and post office run by station agent William Woolsey Beers until his death in 1879; The Sherman Beers Halfway House, Sherman was paid $600 by the railroad to cross his property. The Beers family owned 252.5 acres in Ridgefield/Branchville at one time.; Ridgefield Granite Works, existing mining evidence leads one to believe properties on Mountain Rd and Peaceable St. (Scott's Preserve/Rock Lot) may have been worked by this company; Abijiha N. Fillow's house, Abijaha would mine the World Famous Branchville Mica Mine first in 1876 without out much success (in his opinion) but in 1878 with assistance from Brush and Dana of Yale University he would uncover 8 minerals unique to this location, bringing Worldwide fame (in the science community) to himself and Brush and Dana.; The" BSSh" located behind the tracks means "Blacksmith Shop".; The roadway shown running in front of A.N. Fillow, Store, Etc.. is currently West Branchville Rd. at this time it was the "Old Highway" i.e. the main route to Ridgefield and Danbury, as Rt. 7 is today. The image below shows this better.


Expanded View of Map above.


This Map shows additional Beers family properties on Nod Hill Road (W.B. Beers, Mrs. Beers)...These properties would later become Weir Farm, a National Historic Site. Famed Architect Stanford White supervised the expansion of the homestead. The Beers family arrived in the area in the 1790's.

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Old General Store/Post Office that was located in what is now the parking lot of Branchville Station. Notice in the back left of the building the narrow bridge that led across the Norwalk River.

The Branchville District Schoolhouse.

Postcard of the Branchville R.R. Station at the turn of the 20th century.

Postcard of the Branchville R.R. Station from the tracks.

View of Branchville Bridge leading to Portland Ave. and Peaceable St.
DeBenigo's Store in background. Special Thank you to Jack Sanders for this image.
Be sure to visit for some amazing information on Ridgefield and Branchville.

View of Branchville Bridge looking South. Special Thank you to Jack Sanders for this image. Be sure to visit for some amazing information on Ridgefield and Branchville.

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Southbound view of the Branchville after the Flood of 1955. The tracks to the right of the station are now gone, they were used to back up and store freight cars.

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Train wreck in Branchville. Date unknown.


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Birdseye View of Branchville. Date unknown.

Silex Mills Factory in Branchville. Bridgeport Wood Finishing, Co. operated the Branchville Mine from 1891 to approx. WWI. A form of silica produced from the mine was used to create a paste wood filler. This filler didn't absorb moisture or shrink and could be stained to match any finish.

The World Famous Branchville Mica Mine Today (2006)

Life's Farm in Branchville. It was located approximately where Branchville School is now on Florida Hill Road. John Ames Mitchell founded Life's Fresh Air Farm in the 1890's to give city children and opportunity to enjoy several weeks in the country each summer. Also, known as Hidden Valley.


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Branchville Store Owner. Date unknown.


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The "Old Leatherman" taken by James F. Rodgers In Branford CT on June 9, 1885.

The "Old Leatherman" was a gentleman that walked a 365 mile circuit around Western Connecticut & Eastern NY State in the late 1800's. Branchville & Georgetown were on his route, Redding too. He would walk from town to town and people would leave food on their backsteps for him.

He passed through Brewster, North Salem, Ridgefield, Branchville, Georgetown, Redding, Danbury, Bridgewater, Waterbury, Forestville, New Britain, Saybrook, Guilford, Branford, New Haven, Stratford, Bridgeport, Norwalk, New Canaan, Stamford, Greenwich, White Plains, Armonk, Chappaqua, Ossining, Mount Kisco, Bedford Hills, Pound Ridge, Yorktown, Peekskill, and Somers before arriving back at Brewster. It took him approximately thirty-four days to complete one 365-mile circuit. He slept in caves & shelters, these rest stops generally spaced within 10-miles of eachother. (The Leatherman's body was found in one of the many caves he slept in on his route.)

Researched, Compiled and Transcribed by Dan W. DeLuca

THE EVENING NEWS: Danbury Connecticut,
Friday, January 25, 1889
The Leather Man in Redding

The Leather Man was in Redding and called early in the morning at the residence of Dr. J. H. Benedict, where he asked for a breakfast.

He was readily recognized by Mrs. Benedict from his leather clothing, and she invited him into the kitchen. As Mrs. Benedict can speak French she soon learned his wants, which were simply coffee and she furnished him with all he desired. He drank the full of two large bowls, into each of which he put a teacupful of sugar.

He explained that he was unable to partake of solid food on account of his cancer, which prevented chewing. He conversed for a short time with Mrs. Benedict in French, until she asked him of his antecedents and then he became suddenly and stubbornly silent and spoke in his broken English.

His cancer is rapidly eating away his life. The right cheek is entirely gone, including a portion of the lower lip. He would not allow Dr. Benedict to dress it or Mrs. Benedict to do anything for his comfort, save to give him the coffee and a bottle of milk.

He now seems very shaky and is evidently drawing near his end. It seems as if the Humane Society should look after him, and care of him, even if it was necessary to do so by force, or else some day he will be found a corpse in some out of the way place, the victim of a-craze, want, neglect and exposure. *They were right- he was found dead in March 1889 in his Saw Mill Woods cave at Sing, Sing NY.

If anyone has knowledge of the location of Dr. J.H. Benedict's house please contact Dan DeLuca.

For more on the Leatherman visit Dan DeLuca's web page. Dan researches, presents and promotes the amazing history of the Leatherman and we hear a book is in the works so keep and eye out for it...


Bring the photos to your next function:
Brent Colley is available for slide lectures on the History of Redding, Branchville and Georgetown. Follow the link below for more information.
Slide Lecture Rates & Information

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