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The township of Housatonic originated as a mill village whose population primarily consisted of those who worked at the nearby mills power-fed by the Housatonic River. Monument Mills, a textile manufacturing company, took ownership of the mills and soon emerged as an industrial leader that, beginning in the 1890's, would flourish for nearly 60 years.
In addition to contributing heavily to Housatonic's economy, Monument Mills unwittingly made quite a cultural impact. A large percentage of its workforce consisted of Polish and Italian immigrants whose Old World way of life spilled over into the New World.
Monument Mills had a cultural impact even when it closed its doors. Its abandoned industrial buildings converted into a vast and complex playground for teenagers whose 1970's graffiti still adorns the water tower that rises in the village center. Although some might consider the graffiti to be an eyesore, there are many who view the tower as a proud symbol of Housatonic's industrial past and its current-day status as an artistic community. Artists took advantage of plentiful, and inexpensive, space in the abandoned mill buildings, and today, Housatonic is known for its galleries and artists' studios.
Hinsdale, originally part of the Western Parish of Partridgefield (Peru), was founded in 1804.
Hinsdale's current-day village is stationed along Route 143. But the town's trade activity once centered a little bit east in an agriculturally based settlement that the Millers, Watsons, Toreys, and Starrs started in 1772.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the population base began to shift towards the west, settling along the Housatonic River, the source for much-needed water power. The Hinsdale Brothers Woolen Mill, which served as the town's industrial focal point from 1836 until the 1930's, gave rise to a village and became the center of town activities.
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