Eyewitness News took 20 Towns in 20 Days to northeastern Connecticut and the town of Windham.
Our own Drone 3 captured video of the historic town hall, and the Willimantic River!
It is Windham’s 325th anniversary this month. Eyewitness News began its tour in North Windham at a quintessential diner that evokes memories of Elvis, Eisenhower, and Cadillacs with giant fins.
Inside the Aero Diner, owner Ken Tutto has turned the restaurant into a must stop for breakfast lunch, dinner or a milkshake.
It still feels like 1958 in here. It does,” Tutto said. “The history, the counters are the same we try to make things as normal as possible but we try to relive that era when diners were so popular
The Aero Diner has plenty of interesting locals as regulars such as Dr. Charlie Prewitt, who turns 99 later this year.
“It is a nice town,” Prewitt said. “Don’t you think so?”
Prewitt is a former professor in town at Eastern Connecticut State University, but before that he played a major role in one of the biggest events in world history.
“I worked in a war plant trying to find out if there was something beyond uranium,” Prewitt said.
Prewitt said he was a scientist for the Manhattan Project and helped develop the atomic bombs dropped on japan to end World World II, but later became a peace activist
“I remember all of us working in that lab hoping that bomb would never go off…too devastating,” Prewitt said.
From the Aero Diner, Eyewitness News headed to the historic Windham Green, lined with colonial homes, that sell for a fraction of the price in suburban Hartford, or the shoreline.
Mayor Ernie Eldridge was born in Windham.
“Let me ask if someone in metro Hartford wanted to buy a house here what makes this a desirable place to buy and live it is reasonable taxes are low,” Eldridge said.
Much of the history in Windham is industrial. It’s gone now, but Windham and Willimantic were once home to American Thread, the biggest thread company in the world. They made 40,000 kinds of thread
The thread history is re-told at the textile museum, and in artwork around town. Giant thread spools are seen on the Willimantic River bridge, adorned by frogs the size of a small car.
“You had the battle over the frogs which is historical and hysterical,” Eldridge said.
The frogs were fighting over a lack of water in the 1700s. The unusual and unexpected are commonplace here. The high school mascot is the whippet.
Eyewitness News ended our tour of Windham with a stop at one of the town’s most popular restaurants: The Willimantic Brewing Company, a converted post office that also plays with the frog theme. There are Lili pads on the ceiling.
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