Archaeology for Willimanticís Frog Bridge

Picture of decorative frog on Thread City Crossing bridge.

The Thread City Crossing Bridge, affectionately known as the Frog Bridge, opened in September 2000 and immediately became one of the most notable features of downtown Willimantic. As required by state and federal law, the construction for the bridge was coordinated with archaeological studies requested by the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, in order to mitigate effects on archaeological features that might be disturbed in the course of the project. The area was determined to have sensitivity for historic-period archaeology because this was the location, in the 1820s, of Asa, Seth, and William Jillsonís first cotton mill, one of Willimanticís earliest textile enterprises.

Working for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, archaeologists from PAST, Inc. surveyed and photographed stone walls that marked the foundations of manufacturing buildings and a former company house rented to mill workers, as well as a gatehouse, the headrace, and the remnants of a waterpower turbine. Some of these features were exposed during the course of construction, and others were uncovered as a result of excavations carried out by the archaeologists. In addition to forming the basis for this web site, the data will be permanently archived in the Connecticut Historic Preservation Collection of the Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut.

Why frogs on spools ? (in case you were wondering)

Here is what the project area looked like in 1909. Pass your mouse over the various buildings and structures to identify them and click for more information. Alternatively, click on the headings at the bottom of the page.

Mill Dam -  Head Gates -  Headrace -  Jillson Cotton Mill -  Woodworking Shop
Willimantic River -  Worker Houses -  Jillson House -  Railroads -  Jackson Street

How does the project area fit into Willimantic's overall historical development?

Other Willimantic History Resources on the Web

Willimantic History Bibliography.

This webpage was funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Design and content by Public Archaeology Survey Team, Inc.

Head Gates Mill Dam Head Race Head Race Jillson Cotton Mill Jillson House Woodworking Shop Willimantic River Willimantic River Worker Houses Railroad Tracks Railroad Tracks Railroad Tracks Jackson Street