The Vaghi Woodworking Company was established by Joseph Vaghi in 1909. An immigrant from Cislago, Italy, Vaghi arrived in the United States in 1908. Born of a family of woodworkers, he soon set up a shop in Danbury where, as the only furniture manufacturing shop in that city, he began producing cabinets and other custom furniture. By the early 1930s, Vaghi’s firm had grown to the point where it was necessary to erect the two-story plant on South Street in his adopted town of Bethel, where the company’s work was greatly expanded. An advertisement posted in a 1936 directory lists company services as including, ‘Interior Trimming, Parquet Floors, Fine Cabinet Work, New and Reproductions of Antique Furniture, All Kinds of Finishing, Manufacturers of Complete Bars and Fixtures.’ The company claimed, “If Made Of Wood We Make It.’ In addition to his talents as a furniture builder, Joseph Vaghi was also recognized as a creative inventor. Among his patented creations are a boat designed to travel on land and water, a folding boat, a boat-tent combination designed for camping, a picnic table with detachable sun screen, and several air and water propellers. The Vaghi Woodworking Company appears to have experienced a downturn during the 1940s as for a short period of time space in the plant was leased to the Bridgeport Metal Goods Company, a manufacturer of flashlights and metal stampings. The business was revived by the 1950s and 1960s and after Joseph Vaghi’s death in 1964 the business was operated by two of his sons, John and Carlo, who continued it into the late 20th century.
Roughly three (3) adjoining blocks.
The former Vaghi Woodworking Company plant is comprised of three primary adjoining blocks located on the north side of South Street, along the west side of the rail line and roughly 185’ east of South Street’s intersection with Taylor Avenue. The complex was erected ca. 1930 and consists of a two-story manufacturing block that is connected to a two-story storage building via a small, two-story ell. The manufacturing block is a two, story, 34’ x 116’ wood-frame structure with irregularly-spaced window openings and a low-pitch front-facing gable roof with cornice returns. A red brick firewall forms the north (rear) walls of all three blocks. The primary building is sheathed with clapboards, however, these have been stuccoed on the east (side) elevation and covered with vinyl siding on the south (front) elevation. Fenestration throughout the block consists of a mix of the original 12-over-12 and six-over-six double-hung wood sash and replacement one-over-one double-hung vinyl windows. The primary entrance to the building is a paneled wood pass-through door located on the façade, this sheltered by a gabled portico with bracket supports. A one-bay, garage-style entry consisting of a pair of paneled wood doors with glass lights is located at the southern end of the west elevation. The main block is connected to a two-story, 24’ x 94’ wood-frame storage shed with a two-story, 11’ x 42’ wood-frame ell with a shed roof. The ell has clapboard siding, while the storage building is sheathed with vertical wood boards. The latter has a wide doorless opening on its southern (front) end and numerous window openings on all but the north (rear) elevation, which is solid brick. The windows throughout the building largely lack original or replacement sash.
The complex is in fair to deteriorated condition. The plant appears to be structurally sound, however, many of the original windows are missing or have been replaced and much of the exterior siding or stucco is deteriorated.
One legal parcel (77 South Street) totaling 0.2 acres located on the north side of South Street, along the west side of the rail line and roughly 185’ east of South Street’s intersection with Taylor Avenue.
Located in Greenwood Avenue Historic District (National Register, 1999).
Lucas A. Karmazinas