Hazardville, Connecticut, began as a 19th-century industrial village that made gunpowder. Thankfully, that’s not how it got its moniker: The town was named after Colonel Augustus George Hazard, who purchased and expanded the company in 1837.
Both of the Enfield parks contain the ruins of the Hazard Powder Company, a factory complex that manufactured black powder from 1836 until 1913. Over the course of its 77 year history, it comprised approximately 200 buildings filling an area half a mile wide and two miles long, winding through the hollow carved out by the Scantic River. During the Civil War the company’s mills provided over 40% of the Union’s gun powder. The Hazard Powder Company was also immeasurably important in furthering western expansion by supplying blasting powder to railroads and mining companies. Work at the factory could be dangerous, and over 67 people lost their lives working there.
The parking area for the south side of the river is just after the bridge at the corners of Maple Avenue and Powder Hollow Road. The rapids are well known as a local swimming hole, as well as a picnicking area.
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