The Main Thing Here Is..
Vernon (Google Maps location)
May 7, 2017
I am hastily writing this page and probably won’t ever call attention to it. This is not a museum.
[Update: Now that I’ve written it, it turned out to be way longer and more interesting than I initially thought.]
Now, it is true that I have and will visit similar “outdoor museums” around the state. But those museums bill themselves as outdoor museums. Heck, there’s even one right here in Vernon!
This one doesn’t. But the fine folks at the Tankerhoosen Valley – way at the bottom of their “brochure” – say the following:
Curses! Why must my weird museum-list OCD force me to pretend I “visited” this “museum” and THEN write about it? Actually, I’m not being fair to myself. I HAVE “visited” this place twice. Most recently when Damian and I hiked the Talcott Ravine, as the trail begins at the end of the street where the “museum” is.
That street happens to be Main Street in Vernon. Sure, there’s lots of history here with the whole Talcottville Outdoor Museum stuff, but the fact that Vernon’s Main Street is a short dead-end road with a one-lane bridge is the most interesting thing going on here.
Yes, I know that the reason for this is that I-84 cut it off. But it’s still kind of funny to me. I wonder if there’s a shorter Main Street in all of Connecticut? New England? The United States? Boy, wouldn’t it be great if someone invented a “World Wide Web” where we could find out such important things?
Main Street Culver City is often referred to as the “shortest main street in America” and it may indeed be so, as it is 3/5 of a block long, cut off by the city line between Los Angeles and Culver City. The street name changes to Bagley Avenue on the Los Angeles side, and Main Street on the Culver City side. The city line is visible as a change in paint in the road surface in the middle of Main/Bagley, and in labeled markings in the sidewalk on either side. The city line runs along the south wall of the alley on the western side, and between Grand Casino restaurant and an architecture office on the eastern side of the street.
Sorry, Vernon, you’ve been beat. But I still wonder about Connecticut though.
Hold on… what the heck is the Museum of Jurassic Technology? I’ve just spent 10 minutes on their site and… wow.
The museum calls itself “an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic”; the relevance of the term “Lower Jurassic” to the museum’s collections is left uncertain and unexplained. The museum’s collection includes a mixture of artistic, scientific, ethnographic, and historic, as well as some unclassifiable exhibits, and the diversity of its offerings evokes the cabinets of curiosities that were the 16th-century predecessors of modern natural history museums. The factual claims of many of the museum’s exhibits strain credibility, provoking an array of interpretations from commentators. The museum was the subject of a 1995 book by Lawrence Weschler entitled Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, which describes in detail many of its exhibits.
Wow indeed. More here. Their website is weird. I know LA is weird (and it is in LA, not Culver City), but this place is really, really weird. Check out their exhibits.
In other words, I’m jealous it’s near the shortest Main Street in the US and not near what I’m claiming to be the shortest Main Street in Connecticut.
Just so you know, I did take one picture of one building in Talcottville.
No Mice on Toast here. Just “The Talcottville Historic District, [which] is remarkable for its integrity of design, setting, feeling, and association, which convey the image of a small manufacturing village.”
There are a bunch of buildings here in the “outdoor museum” besides the Warburton House. The giant Talcottville mill (which is being converted into living and office space), a bunch of Greek Revival houses, an old school house, a church, other mill remains and so forth.
The Talcottville Historic District appears today much as it did in the first half of the twentieth century when the Talcott Brothers Company was producing fine woolens. With the relocation of the state highway, Hartford Turnpike, from Main Street in the 1930’s, the preservation of the village was begun. The village was further isolated by the post-war construction of the Wilbur Cross Highway and by the 1980-1983 reconstruction of the highway (I-84). Few buildings have been radically altered from their original appearance, and even fewer have been added or demolished.
Talcottville is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a nineteenth century factory village. The Talcottville Historic District encompasses the site of an early cotton-spinning factory and is associated with John Warburton and Peter Dobson, pioneers of the cotton manufacturing industry in Connecticut.
This is a weird page.
There’s a ton about the place here.
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