Around the State: Hazardville
Hazardville. The long awaited rebirth of the Hazardville Institute is becoming a reality at last. Erected in 1869 as a public hall and operated by a state-chartered corporation dedicated to “moral and intellectual enlightenment,” the building was a center of community life. By the 1970s, however, the Institute was abandoned and faced demolition until the town of Enfield gave a 99-year lease to the newly formed Hazardville Institute Conservancy.
Little happened until 2001, when the Conservancy was re-organized and began looking for ways to rescue the crumbling building. They soon succeeded: in 2004 the town appropriated approximately $125,000 for structural repairs, and shortly thereafter Connecticut Department of Social Services granted up to $300,000 in bond money a new roof. Now, work is underway on window rehabilitation, digging a new cellar to accommodate mechanicals, and interior restoration.
When this work is complete, the Institute will once again fulfill its original mission by providing community meeting rooms and an exhibition on Hazardville’s historic gunpowder industry, which the Conservancy hopes will benefit from restoration work at Coltsville in Hartford and with the Springfield armory in Massachusetts. A small post office, along with rental office space on the second floor, will help support the building’s ongoing operation and maintenance.
The Connecticut Circuit Rider Program provided technical and organizational advice to the Conservancy through site visits and a mini-grant.