Reproduction of Map for the proposed
Harwinton Corners Fire District

(At the Town Hall)

In 1923 the most populated area or Harwinton, know as the Northwest Corners Fire District and also as the 2nd Voting District, was annexed to the Borough of Torrington. The most interesting element of this “set-off” was the reason for it. A previous Historian wrote that the “Missing Corner” was in need of Torrington Water. That analogy is absolutely correct but what were the circumstances that led up to the General Assembly Bill # 95 being approved by the House on May 23, 1923?

To find that answer we must go all the way back to December of 1894 when people of that corner had taken steps to have this “set-off” come up before the General Assembly. A Newspaper article stated that “The settlement is now so thick in the district that the services of the Torrington Water Company are needed there. Moreover the better school system of Torrington it is claimed should be afforded to the children of the district.” The General Assembly deemed that the time was not ripe for an annexation nor was it financially feasible.

So how big was this district? Reports certainly vary but one listed the population of the district at about 1500 people. There is no way to know for sure however, when reviewing school reports its interesting to note that school district #11 had the second highest number of students in 1917 with 27 while the district #2 school was listed with 369 students. Checking the 1920 census, Harwinton’s population was 2000 while the 1930 census listed Harwinton with 941; a drop of 1079 in ten years. Whatever the actual number was, there is no doubt that it was significant and surely at least 1,000 people living in an area about 300 acres in size.

In the years 1910 to 1922, the annual reports of the town of Harwinton include reports from our Health Officer. He expressed concern regarding the lack of sewage disposal in that portion of the town. His 1911 report stated “A few are building private sewers into the Naugatuck River, others depend upon more or less unsatisfactory cesspools and a few use the gutter of the highway for a drain.” He also added “Complaint has been made to the County Health Officer of conditions near Palmer Bridge due to the emptying of the large sewer of Torrington into the river a short distance above this point.” Five years later the 1916 report stated “I wish to call attention to the serious menace of a typhoid epidemic which threatens the 2nd district corner if sewage and garbage disposal is not immediately cared for”. “Suitable sewage has reached a point of absolute necessity.” The 1917 report included these statements; “There is a diphtheria epidemic in the district 2 school.”“25 cases have been quarantined.” The state lab has isolated 9 carriers.” Finally in 1920 he said “The families in the second district that had cases of typhoid all had access to the same water supply.” He also referenced on a number of occasions the need to drain the swamp on Colt Street where breeding grounds for disease exist.

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