A project of Zach van Schouwen.

3/08/2008

Thompsonville, Connecticut


I grew up just across the state line in Massachusetts. Thompsonville is in Enfield, a small town that 80s suburbanization turned into an endless hell of strip malls. A drive down any street in Enfield goes "I-91, Best Buy, Target, farm, Stop & Shop, farm, prison." It's rather unpleasant and is evolving into an integral part of the urban fabric of the Springfield area, with booming population and job growth. But you can't walk anywhere.

Except in Thompsonville. Tucked on a ridge overlooking the Connecticut River, Thompsonville is the only one of the various villages that were amalgamated into Enfield to have had any real population before strip-mall zoning kicked in. An old, abandoned factory sits next to an old, abandoned train station next to an industrial canal.

Thompsonville is a beautiful enclave of the budget housing of the last century. Shabby but pleasant houses are next to brick two-families. On a few streets, old rooming houses still stand, with five or six stairways leading from the outside into the same building.


Thompsonville is dignified but mostly forgotten. UConn kids will drive out to buy drugs now and again, or to hit one of a few surviving shops on Main Street. Freeways and malls box it in geographically and socially, like it was trapped in amber.

2 comments:

metaljaybird said...

Holy cow, I found this through an image search on Google. I grew up T-ville myself during the 80s, so I never knew T-ville before it was known as the "bad end".

Zach said...

Glad to be of service. I don't make it to Enfield much anymore, but Tville was always sort of lingering in my peripheral vision growing up.