The "Town Well" pictured above predates the fountain on the Derby Green by many years. The one pictured above stood at the base of Academy Hill on what was the original Derby Green - now called Founders Commons. This picture is looking across Derby Avenue. The house pictured is still there, and the Old Uptown Burial Ground is to the left of the house with the Naugatuck River father behind the house.
In his 1924 book, Memories of Old Derby, Albert Sherwood waxed eloquently about the well and its importance in Derby history. He traced its origins back to either 1701 or 1702 depending on whether Josiah Baldwin or Francis French had been responsible for its digging. He concluded that it was more likely Francis French, Jr. in 1702. One proviso of the original permission to dig the well was that "ye town cartway be not prejudiced thereby." Interestingly, that is exactly what happened when the addition of a second trolley track on the roadway necessitated the closing of the well after 200 years of service. Sherwood describes traveling down Academy Hill on his way to the swimming hole (Naugatuck River) and stopping at the well for liquid refreshment.
Correct answers were received from: Rick Dunne, Sal and Joanne Onofrio, John Asp, Brenna Kelleher & Kelly Johnson (Worked on this together!), Andrew DeTullio, John Kowarik, Marsha Pettingill, Kimberly Shelton, Ann Searles, Markanthony Izzo, Henry Wajdowicz, Alexander C. Wailionis, Mary Lou Boroski, J. Moran, and Randy Ritter.
Quite a few people mistook this well for the one on the Derby Green - the subject of one of our earlier quizzes. Click here to see that one.
To see our other earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.