An afternoon drive along Route 44 heading northeast in Connecticut will take you to a town called Putnam; located in the quiet corner of the state.
Putnam was incorporated in 1855 and was a mill town. It was named after Civil War General Israel Putnam. General Putnam was well-known for providing much needed clothes & supplies to the Civil War soldiers. The town was a prosperous community until the devastation that struck in 1955. Hurricane Connie visited Putnam on August 13, 1955 and left 4-6 inches of rain. Then, five days later, Hurricane Diane stayed for two days and provided another 14 inches of rain. The town mills, stores, and railroad were destroyed.
By the end of the twentieth century, a reincarnation of Putnam appeared within the empty storefronts and mills. Antique stores and independent restaurants started to line the streets. People began to view downtown Putnam as a destination for antique seekers and enjoying a good meal with friends, while listening to the music of local musicians.
As an avid antique shopper, my visit to Putnam did not disappoint. The collection of antiques vary from old military uniforms, toys, jewelry, furniture, and even a few washboards. The store owners are as friendly as talking to your long lost friend, and more than willing to help you find the item on your list- even if it’s in another store.
While having dinner outside and listening to the music, I watched the cars from New York, New Jersey, and Virginia drive into the parking lot. I wondered what it was like after those awful Hurricanes destroyed the town, and what the people of Putnam must have thought. Could they have ever imagined their mill town would one day be a bustling & thriving community?
I guess sometimes we do need a little rain to get us to that rainbow.