Society Director Deborah Shapiro will begin the program with her lecture, “Down by the Riverside.” She will trace the history of the waterfront from 18th century private ownership to today’s mostly municipal ownership, highlighting properties from the present-day Harbor Park to city-owned land across from the Rushford Center. To conduct her research, she searched the land records in the Town Clerk’s Office and then scoured Society archives to learn about the businesses operated by the owners. The transition of maritime activities from the early agricultural and slave trade to waterfront lumber and coal yards and enamel manufacturing will be richly illustrated with photographs from the Society’s collection.
Shapiro will be joined by Michiel Wackers, the Director of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development who will speak about the future plans for the riverfront as overseen by the Middletown Riverfront Redevelopment Commission. By the city becoming a member of the Mattabasett District, land now occupied by the Middletown waste water treatment plant will be freed up for development along with other city owned parcels. Wackers will discuss major aspects of the comprehensive plan.
The Senior and Community Center is handicapped accessible and has parking. The program is free and open to the public, although donations are welcome. For further information, contact the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.