Cove Warehouse, Wethersfield, Connecticut (1)

The warehouse at Wethersfield Cove, around 1935-1942 (but most likely in 1936). Image courtesy of the Connecticut State Library, State Archives, RG 033:28, WPA Records, Architectural Survey.

The building in 2024:

Wethersfield Cove is a pond-like body of water that is connected to the Connecticut River via a narrow inlet. It is a remnant of a river meander that was similar to the more famous Oxbow farther upstream in Hadley, Massachusetts. However, this meander in Wethersfield did not last long enough to be immortalized in a 19th century Thomas Cole painting, because it was flooded in 1692. The flood straightened the course of the river, turning the former meander into what became known as the Cove. Over the centuries it has remained a distinctive feature on the town’s landscape, and it is located at the northern end of Main Street, just north of the town center.

Both before and after the 1692 flood, Wethersfield was an important seaport. Although the town is many miles inland, it is located along the navigable portion of the Connecticut River, which allows oceangoing ships to arrive and depart from here. To serve this shipping, six warehouses were constructed here in the late 17th century, prior to the 1692 flood. All of these were subsequently destroyed by the flood with the exception of this one, which has survived to the present day.

Along the way, it has become an important town landmark, although at times it has been threatened both by neglect and by other floods. It was restored in the early 1930s, but then it suffered serious damage during the March 1936 flood, including being knocked off of its foundation. The top photo is undated except for the estimated 1935-1942 date range, but the condition of the building suggests that this was probably shortly after the flood.

After the flood, the building was again restored, and it continues to stand here as a rare surviving example of a 17th century New England warehouse. It is owned by the town, and it is rented to the Wethersfield Historical Society, which operates it as a seasonal museum. Today, the scene looks much the same as it did in the 1930s, with the exception of Interstate 91, which now passes through Wethersfield in the distance on the right side of the scene, crossing the narrow inlet that connects the Cove to the rest of the Connecticut River.

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