COLCHESTER, CT (WFSB) -- Wednesday’s edition of 20 Towns in 20 Days takes Ch. 3 to Colchester.
In the historic town of Colchester, the green is a favorite spot to visit.
As a matter of fact, the green is one of many locations in town that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Colchester is rich in history.
It’s named after Colchester, England where the first settlers came from in 1692.
The land was given to founder Jeremy Adams by Uncas the Sachem of the Mohegan Tribe.
Also on the National Register of Historic Places, one of the nation’s oldest high schools, Bacon Academy, which is still used as a school since it first opened in 1803.
Among the famous alumni is Stephen Austin, the father of Texas, and Connecticut governors Buckingham, and Bulkeley, and New York governor Morgan.
Colchester is also part of the historic "Airline Trail,” the rail line built in the 1870's ran from New York to Boston.
One of the main features of the Airline Trail is the Lyman Viaduct, which is 137 feet over the Dickenson Creek.
The Airline Trail is very popular for hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
Also in Colchester, kayakers can enjoy the waters on Babcock Pond, or Pickerel Lake.
As for industry, farming was the primary way the early settlers survived in Colchester.
Back then, the textile mills popped up in 1780's in the north end of town in Westchester, but around 1847, rubber was king.
When Hayward Rubber Company opened, founder Nathaniel Hayward, working with funds from Charles Goodyear, discovered the process of vulcanized rubber and made boots and shoes.
Today, Colchester is home to a division of one of the worlds most respected companies consumer reports -- Auto Test Track.
But many drag fans remember the location as home to Connecticut Dragway.
Colchester is also celebrating its 320th anniversary on Saturday.
Ch. 3 stopped in to check out a famous eatery, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places— Harry’s Place.
Harry’s, believe it or not, will be 100 years old next year, and when diners tell you they’ve been coming here for decades, there’s one reason why -- it hasn’t changed.
“I’ve been coming here since high school,” said Peter Atwood, adding that it hasn’t changed a bit.
Harry Schmuckler first opened the doors to Harry’s Place in 1920.
He sold the shack to employee Ruby Cohen in the 1930’s, and 50 years later in 1978, the Garet family bought it and now a third generation of Garets are keeping the hot dogs and fries coming.
Laura Defaria, co-owner of Harry’s Place, said the menu has expanded over the years.
“The basics are all there but there’s a lot of additional. It’s grown,” she said.
The town’s First Selectman Art Shilosky has been stopping at Harry’s since he was a kid.
“Same food, same good people ground sit down, people come and talk to you. It’s a landmark,” Shilosky said.
“First of all, they look for a good meal. I think they look for the feel good part of it, a lot of people are around, it’s a beautiful day, people are usually happy when they’re going to eat,” Defaria said.
And Harry’s is happy when customers keep coming back.
“They’re here. They’re keeping us working, they’re keeping the business open which is great,” Defaria said.
Also during 20 Towns in 20 Days, Ch. 3 donated $1,000 to CT Lyme Riders, Inc., which came about to raise awareness about Lyme Disease.
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium spread by ticks.
Signs of infection include expanding area of redness around the bite mark.
If untreated symptoms include fever, headache, and debilitating join pain.
Tony Gargano, president of the CT Lyme Riders, founded the non-profit years ago to help spread information about the disease.
He got involved after a family member contracted the disease.
“It took us several years to diagnose her. Once she got diagnosed, a lot of symptoms set in and it’s been troublesome ever since, life changing to be in fact. So, we did this to raise awareness for Lyme disease because there’s just not enough information or, at that time not enough information, but it’s a lot better now,” Gargano said.
He added, should you find a tick imbedded in your skin, once you remove it save the ticks remains and place in a sealed bag or container. If you get sick, doctors can refer to and test the bug.
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