BOROUGH OF JEWETT CITY
Jewett City, named after the industrialist Eliezer Jewett, was settled around 1771, when Eliezer constructed the first sawmill and gristmill wheel, harnessing the water power of the Pachaug River. The village then consisted of a few residences, including the log house of the Jewett family.
Until about 1790, the main industry continued to be agriculture, until John Wilson, from Massachusetts, began to operate a “fulling mill” (a mill that produces homemade flannels for clothing).
In 1804, John Schofield set a carding machine into operation preparing wool for spinning and weaving on hand looms found in houses throughout the village. In 1814, the Fanning Manufacturing Company was formed, later becoming the Ashland Cotton Company.
In 1920, John Wilson’s mill was sold to two men from Norwich, G. W. Trumbull and John Breed. In1827 the mill was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt. The property was taken over by John F. and William Slater. By 1873, William Slater had constructed what was to become the largest mill in town, containing 250 to 350 looms. The Ashland Cotton Company was second in size, with up to 330 looms in operation.
In the late 1870s several other manufacturing concerns became a part of the growing community, including Bromley Brothers, manufacturers of spectacles, producing 15,000 pairs of spectacles a year. There also were two carriage and wagon shops. Other businesses included a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, two company stores, and several shops.
In 1893 Moses Pierce organized the Aspinook Corporation. Also, in that same year, the Jewett City Textile Novelty Company was formed. The growth of the town increased steadily over the years, with several industries in full operation, including the Aspinook Mill, the Ashland Cotton Company, and the Plastic Wire and Cable Company.
However, by the mid-1960s the textile industry had faded out of existence. Attempts were made to develop new industries using existing structures, including a shoe factory at the Ashland Cotton Company and Wyre Wynd at the Aspinook Mill. As with many other manufacturing buildings, Aspinook Mill’s fire in 1969 destroyed most of the factory. Slater Mill sustained fire damage to a large portion of its mill complex in 1993, and Ashland Mill was completely consumed by fire in 1995.
Jewett City is the Borough of the Town of Griswold. It was incorporated in 1895 through state legislation. The Borough of Jewett City has its own charter. It consists of one square mile. There are approximately 3,200 residents in this one square mile.
In reality, the Borough of Jewett City is a government within the government of the Town of Griswold. Those who live in the one square mile borough pay an additional tax. In the Borough, residents pay a low rate of 3.56 which pays for two resident state troopers, seventy (70) fire hydrants, the Jewett City Firehouse, and tax collectors services. The government is made up of a warden and 4 burgesses who set policy and enforce the law of charter. The government also consists of a treasurer, assessor, & clerk. There is also an appointed secretary. The tax collector for the Town of Griswold collects taxes for both municipalities.
The Board of Warden and Burgesses compile a budget and the freemen of the borough vote to accept or reject this budget at their Annual Freemen’s meeting which is held on the third Wednesday in May. At the Annual Meeting, the mill rate is set and the tax collector is authorized to collect said amount.
Jewett City was first known as Pachaug City. (Pachaug being the original Indian name for the area that is now Griswold) It was later named to honor Eliezier Jewett who began a settlement there in 1771. He erected a sawmill, grist mill, fulling mill, and clothiers shop with press and dye kettle, a tavern, and an irrigation plant. The residents asked the town officials if they could provide more services to them, such as police protection, and street lighting, and paved roads and sidewalks to enhance their living conditions. The town fathers felt there was no need to pay for something the town as a whole did not use on their farms.
So in 1895, the concentration of people proposed that they go to the Legislature in Hartford and request to become an entity of their own within the area of Griswold. This request was granted. Until 1995, the Borough of Jewett City controlled its own police department, road department, and fire department.
To this day, the freemen of the Borough of Jewett City own the electric light plant and sewer plant (Jewett City Department of Public Utilities). The Borough of Jewett City mill rate is 3.56. The Town of Griswold’s mill rate is 25.07. This pays for the roads through the highway department, the Griswold Fire Department, the A. A. Young Fire Department, and the Griswold School System.
Board of Warden & Burgesses
Governing Body for the Borough of Jewett City
- Laura Laidley
- Catherine Waselik