While visiting Connecticut in August, my sister suggested we venture out and explore the town of Cheshire in search of interesting doors. Along the way, we spied a neglected factory with a series of red garage doors, broken windows, aged brick, mottled paint, and a cracked cement driveway that once housed the Ball & Socket Manufacturing Company.
Curiously, on the left-hand side of the decaying complex, a rustic, wood-sided red building was decorated with a long row of colorful, framed paintings and an artistically transformed entry door.
As it turns out, three local artists and co-founders of an organization called Ball & Socket Arts, purchased the factory in 2011. Their mission is to transform the factory and grounds into an arts and entertainment complex, offering gallery, performance, education, retail and dining spaces. To learn more about this worthy project and see stunning photographs of the inside of the old factory check out their website BallandSocket.org.
In case you are wondering why the factory was called “Ball & Socket Manufacturing,” a “ball and socket” is what we call a “snap” fastener today – where the ball snaps into the socket. The site was a working factory for almost 150 years, from 1850 until 1992, dealing in buttons of every description. Folks in the town of Cheshire used to say, “sooner or later, everyone works at the Button Shop.” While buttons are no longer made here, it’s great to see a new life is in the works for the former factory.
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