After crossing the bridge and going under the Route 8 overpass, continue to the traffic light before the train trestle, staying to the right. At this traffic light, turn right onto Seymour's Main Street. The first building on your right is the Strand Movie Theater. This building owned by the Knights of Columbus for many years houses not only the movie theater but has a large open floored reception area on the second floor. The movie theater has been in existence for over 50 years and in 1997 the theater's interior was restored to an art deco style of decor. Price of a ticket was once only 25 cents for a double feature, cartoon and newsreel. Today a ticket to see a movie is still a bargain at $2.00. Movies are regularly shown Thursday through Sunday.
On the corner of Main and Bank Streets is Rogel's Clothing Store, a longtime Seymour business. It was on this site in August of 1900 that the Valley National Bank opened for business. In 1905 the Bank, due to increased business, moved from this location to further down Main Street to where today the Fleet Bank is located. Over the years the bank has gone through several mergers and even in 1981 a large fire. After the fire, the bank building was enlarged and now has expanded to cover much of the area to the left of the original bank building.
Main Street has changed over the years. Many of the bustling family businesses that lined the street are long gone. However, the Humphreys and Beach Block buildings built in the late 1800's still stand and the friendly family butcher shop still opens its doors every day to the smell of sawdust on the floor and the sight of cold, red fresh meat being cut to order.
(CAR STOP) We suggest you now park you car on Main Street and walk the brick sidewalks to acquaint yourselves with the many unique antique shops that are revitalizing and renewing the downtown area. Along Main and Bank Streets you will find wonderful shops filled with unusual and colorful trinkets of yesteryear - something for everyone who remembers yesterday! Not only does Bank Street have a number of quaint shops but it also has a large multi-dealer antique shop where everything from the smallest glass paperweight to a large wooden sideboard can be found.
As you explore more of the downtown area, you will notice on the corner of Main and DeForest Streets, Seymour's prominent Post Office that was built in 1916. Across the street from the Post Office is the New Haven Copper Company factory and office complex. This is a business that has been in operation since 1848, a short period of time before the Naugatuck Valley was considered the center of brass and copper manufacturing in America. It's mainstay of production is sheet copper on all lengths and gauges, however, it was the first mill to roll copper on a new-type mill previously only used in the steel industry. The company has gone through many ups and downs in its long history, including a devastating fire in 1986, but has always been able to beat the odds and remain one of the leading industries in the town of Seymour.
Turn right onto DeForest Street.
Just behind the Post Office on the corner of DeForest and First Streets is Seymour's town hall. The original structure built in the early 1900's is to the left. Because of a rapidly growing population, more space was needed for local government offices and records and an addition was added several years ago. You will notice on the front lawn to the right of the main entrance is a metal statue of a boy and girl standing under an umbrella. Originally this statue was a beautiful water fountain with the water cascading over the umbrella and graced the lawn of the home that was situated in this area. For many years the boy and girl statue were lost - many didn't even know that they ever existed. In the early 1980's the statue was found in the basement of an abandoned building and the Historical Society had them restored and in 1985 presented them to the town of Seymour, asking that they grace the property that they had once adorned.
You will also notice that a short distance to the right of the boy and girl sits a large bell. This bell originally hung in the bell tower of Center School and each day of the school year was faithfully rung calling the children to school. When the town of Seymour decided to sell the building, the historical society was given permission to remove the historic bell and in 1989 had it placed here for all, young and old, to appreciate.
On DeForest Street to the side of the town hall, is the Citizens Engine Company #2 firehouse and the headquarters of the Seymour Volunteer Ambulance Association. The history of this fire company goes back to April of 1882 when a disastrous fire easily consumed a large three story furniture warehouse, two other stores and an adjoining house. This tragedy brought about the organizing of Seymour's all volunteer fire department.
The first engine was a $600 second-hand fire engine that was pumped by hand. In October of 1882, the original fire fighting brigade was called the Ocean Fire Company #1, named for the type of hand pump used as a main weapon against flames. In November of the same year they once again changed their name to the Humphrey Engine and Hose Company #1. By early 1884 enough capitol had been raised by the citizens of the town for the fire company to purchase a new steam engine for $3,100. Thus in August of that year the Company changed its name for the last time to Citizens Engine Company #2. The next year, 1885, a wooden bell tower was constructed on the one bay firehouse and a bell was installed. During an alarm, the first man to arrive at the engine house would ring the bell, and the second man would light the fire on the steam engine.
In 1891, the town appropriated money to build a new firehouse. The original one bay house was to be moved to the rear of the lot and used as the town hall. A new two bay brick with granite trim engine house was built. A brick bell tower was constructed and used, not only for the alarm bell but also for hanging wet hoses for drying.
As the town grew so did its emergencies which meant more room for newer more advanced equipment was needed. In 1973 a committee was authorized to secure plans and costs to construct a firehouse for the Great Hill Hose Company which oversees, even today, emergencies in the Great Hill section of Seymour and for an addition to the present two bay firehouse downtown. The ground breaking ceremony for the addition was in March of 1975. The new addition consisted of three bays for the fire company and an additional bay to house ambulances and quarters for the volunteers of the Seymour Ambulance Association. This new addition would cost $430,000. Credit has to be given, in that the fire company has insisted on retaining the 1892 engine house, tower and alarm bell. Today this original building to the left of the new addition is used as quarters for the Company, the meeting room on the second floor has been refurbished and the first floor has been renovated to include anew kitchen, a picture gallery and housing for the Company's antique fire apparatus. All this work was done at the expense of the Citizens Engine Company. There was no cost to the taxpayers of the town of Seymour. In 1978 the brick exterior of the 1882 firehouse was restored and from that time on , when further restoration has been needed, the fire company made sure it was done and the 1882 has been kept in excellent shape.
Continue on DeForest Street until you come to the traffic light at the intersection with Rt. 67. Turn left. At the second traffic light, take a right on Old. Dr. go up the hill and bear right. the road turns into Rimmon Street. Continue to Elm Spring farm which will be on your right.