The site of the former Connecticut Web and Buckle Company factory on Knowlton Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut was first developed during the mid-1860s as a lumberyard and sawmill operated by the firm of S.C. Nickerson and Son. Around 1886, the two-story red brick mill erected by the company passed to the B. Goodman Manufacturing Company, a firm established in January 1886 for the purpose of manufacturing elastic webbing and suspenders. The company also produced a variety of metal novelties such as pant and vest buckles, assorted clasps, stocking supporter trimmings, and purse frames. The business was organized with $75,000 in capital and was led by B. Goodman, president and treasurer, and T.C. Hotchkiss, secretary. By the early 1890s, Goodman had stepped down as president. He was replaced by Leopold Rothschild, who oversaw the business’s reorganization after it fell into receivership in 1893. The B. Goodman Manufacturing Company was reincorporated as the Connecticut Web Company in 1894, and the firm’s finances soon regained a stable footing. Significant additions to the Knowlton Street plant were completed during the late 1890s, this accompanied by increases in employment. The business was reorganized again in 1908, this time as the Connecticut Web and Buckle Company, and by the late 1910s this entity employed roughly 110 hands operating 62 broad looms and 40 braiding machines. Another name change took place during the late 1960s when the business was reorganized as the Connecticut Buckle and Metal Products Company, which continued to operate the Knowlton Street plant until the late 20th century.
Roughly five (5) adjoining primary blocks.
ca. 1865, ca. 1886, ca. 1895, ca. 1910.
The former Connecticut Web and Buckle Company plant is comprised of five adjoining primary blocks located on the west side of Knowlton Street, roughly 375’ south of Knowlton Street’s intersection with East Washington Avenue. The oldest block associated with the factory was erected ca. 1865 for S.C. Nickerson and Son, a lumberyard and sawmill. The building is situated at the core of the complex and is a two-story, 76’ x 48’ red brick block. It has segmental-arched window openings, a corbelled brick cornice with cornice returns, a side-gabled roof, and round-arched gable end windows. A two-story, 48’ x 104’ red brick block adjoins the east (front) elevation of the ca. 1865 building. This was erected in two phases and housed offices and shipping space on the first floor, and a winding and cutting room on the second. The southern half of the building was completed ca. 1886, while the northern portion was built ca. 1895. The entire block is of brick pier construction and has segmental-arched window openings, a corbelled brick cornice, and a low-pitch hipped roof. A two-and-a-half-story, 38’ x 113’ red brick manufacturing block stands roughly 16’ north of office building. This adjoins the northeast corner of the ca. 1865 block and was built ca. 1895. It has segmental-arched window openings, a corbelled brick cornice with cornice returns, and a low-pitch front-facing gable roof. The main entrance to the block is centered on its east (front) elevation. This consists of a wide segmental-arched opening with a non-original metal and glass door. A two-story, 38’ x 90’ red brick manufacturing block was erected adjoining the west elevation of the ca. 1865 block around 1886. This originally housed the plant’s press room and weaving shop. The building is similar to those throughout the remainder of the complex as it has segmental-arched window openings, a corbelled brick cornice with cornice returns, and a low-pitch hipped roof. The final primary block associated with the former Connecticut Web and Buckle Company plant adjoins the north (side) elevation of the press room and weaving shop building. This was erected as a plating room ca. 1910. It is a two-story, 40’ x 72’ red brick structure with brick piers, segmental-arched window openings, a corbelled brick cornice, and a low-pitch front-facing gable roof.
The complex is in fair condition. The vast majority of the original window openings throughout the plant have been infilled with concrete block, however, overall, the facility appears to be well maintained and structurally sound.
One 0.91-acre parcel (79 Knowlton Street) located on the west side of Knowlton Street, roughly 375’ south of Knowlton Street’s intersection with East Washington Avenue.
Located in East Bridgeport National Register District (1979).
Lucas A. Karmazinas