September 2, 2014

Chester Museum at The Mill Tells Chester’s Story – Weekends

The Chester Museum at The Mill has been owned by the Chester Historical Society since 2000. It was first opened as a museum in 2010. Located on a waterfall on the Pattaconk Brook near the center of town, the mill site was once used to produce anchors, wagon springs, and augers. Photo by Katherine Hilliar

The Chester Museum at The Mill has been owned by the Chester Historical Society since 2000. It was first opened as a museum in 2010. Located on a waterfall on the Pattaconk Brook near the center of town, the mill site was once used to produce anchors, wagon springs, and augers. Photo by Katherine Hilliar

The Chester Museum at The Mill opens for its fourth year on Saturday, May 31. Owned and operated by the Chester Historical Society, the museum is located on the historic 1850s Griswold Mill site, overlooking a waterfall and the Pattaconk Brook near the center of town.

On the first floor is the exhibit, “Over the River and Through the Woods – Early Transportation in Chester,” telling the stories of the beginning of the town’s roads and highways, as well as the train, the trolley, the ferry, and the steamboat. The exhibit, which opened in 2013 thanks to partial funding by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, has been expanded this year to include early bicycles and features a 54-inch Columbia Allbright “ordinary” on loan from the Connecticut Historical Society. New photographs and artifacts of trains, including “Old 97” from the movie, “It Happened to Jane,” have also been included this year.

The Columbia Allbright “ordinary” or high-wheeler bicycle, owned by the CT Historical Society, was made in Hartford in the late 19th century. At 54 inches tall, it sparks one’s imagination about how anyone could get on it to ride through the town. It can be seen at the Chester Museum at The Mill through the summer.

The Columbia Allbright “ordinary” or high-wheeler bicycle, owned by the CT Historical Society, was made in Hartford in the late 19th century. At 54 inches tall, it sparks one’s imagination about how anyone could get on it to ride through the town. It can be seen at the Chester Museum at The Mill through the summer.

On the second floor of the museum (reachable by elevator as well as stairs) is the permanent award-winning exhibit, “Streams of Change: Life & Industry along the Pattaconk.” Together, the two exhibits tell the story of the life, development and growth of Chester.

The Chester Museum at The Mill is open to the public on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through the end of October. It is air-conditioned as well as handicapped accessible. Admission is free. More information at www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org.