Derby History Quiz

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Birmingham Iron Foundry

This industrial complex  was once a thriving example of the robust economy in Derby. Started as a family business by twin brothers Sylvester and Sullivan Colburn in 1836, it stood on the what is now the corner of Main and Water Street starting in 1838. At that early date, Water Street was known as Factory Street. There was actually a reservoir behind the factory that may have later given Water Street its name. The road immediately on the eastern side of the foundry was called Old River Lane, and there was a branch of the Naugatuck River flowing there.

The foundry did not actually take on the name of Birmingham Iron Foundry until 1850 when the Colburns sold it to the new company headed by Sheldon Bassett. They manufactured chilled and sand rolls, rubber machinery of all kinds and rolling mill machinery. Most people alive today recognize it by its last name - Farrell's. It was torn down in 2000 to make way for Home Depot.

This quiz proved a bit tougher than some recent ones. Correct answers were received from: Gene Wajdowicz, Bonnie Berman, Leo P. Moscato, Dave Petz and Ann Searles, Randy Ritter, Tom Carey,  Mary Lou Boroski, Rick Dunne, and MarkAnthony Izzo.

To see our other earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.