East Litchfield Train & Tour


East Litchfield will honor  its historic heritage, and the 300th anniversary of the Town of Litchfield on the afternoon of Saturday, July 6, 2019 at the Depot and the East Litchfield Chapel.

The Village of East Litchfield grew up in the railroad era around the depot that served the rail line along the Naugatuck River. There will be a special train ride from Thomaston to the Depot on the New England Railroad Museum’s East Litchfield Special, a brief walking tour of the historic homes in the village led by Dan Keefe, our local historian, and an open house at the East Litchfield Chapel.

There will be displays of historic photos at the chapel, which has been restored by the East Litchfield Village Improvement Society, as well as light refreshments. All are welcome to come enjoy East Litchfield’s history.
The train leaves Thomaston at 2 p.m.; tickets for the train ride are available at http://www.rmne.org/ . The Chapel will be open to the public from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, see https://eastlitchfield.wordpress.com or contact Barbara Putnam bdputnam@alum.mit.edu or 860-567-4465.


East Litchfield Calendar

Our East Litchfield historian, Dan Keefe, has designed and made a beautiful East Litchfield calendar for 2019.

The calendar is being sold for $15.00, with the proceeds to be used for the preservation and maintenance of our chapel.

Here are some of the wonderful historic images from the calendar:



Calendars can be ordered by emailing E.L.V.I.S. at elvis.inc@gmail.com.


Litchfield Clockmakers of the 18th and 19th Centuries



LITCHFIELD: On Wednesday, September 26th, at 7:00 PM. Jim Katzin will give a presentation on the history of clockmaking in Litchfield. The talk will be at the East Litchfield Chapel, 62 East Litchfield Road South, Litchfield, and be accompanied by several examples of locally made clocks and movements from the early to mid 19th century.

Mr. Katzin, an East Litchfield native, has been repairing and collecting American clocks for over 25 years. A life member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, he was president of the CT chapter of the organization for 12 years.

A suggested donation of $10 for the preservation and maintenance of the East Litchfield Chapel will be greatly appreciated.

Give Local!

give local

On April 24-25, The Connecticut Community Foundation will host GIVE LOCAL – GREATER WATERBURY AND LITCHFIELD HILLS.

This 36-hour online giving event will benefit 257 local nonprofit organizations – including the EAST LITCHFIELD VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY.

Beginning at 7 AM, all donations made to participating nonprofits through the website www.GiveLocalCCF.org will be augmented with $190,000 in bonus funds contributed by the Connecticut Community Foundation, local businesses, and individual sponsors. Nonprofits can also compete for $58,000 in cash prizes.

Since 2013, more than $4.5 million dollars has been raised for area nonprofits through GIVE LOCAL GREATER WATERBURY AND LITCHFIELD HILLS.

So this is the time to make your contribution to E.L.V.I.S. really count!

Last year, with the matching funds from GIVE LOCAL,  we received over $1,800 in contributions !

Let’s try to top $2,000 this year!


Here’s the link to our ELVIS page on the Connecticut Community Foundations Website:



And again, here is the central link again through which you can also make your own donation April 24-25!  (You can donate through either link



Thank you, everyone!






The Scoville Hotel

Dan Keefe, our East Litchfield Historian, recently regaled our East Litchfield Village Improvement Society meeting with the fascinating story behind the demise of the Scoville Hotel.



Dan Keefe, at our March ELVIS meeting – the first meeting held in the recently renovated chapel.



The rail line and depot opened in East Litchfield in 1849 – and by 1852, the Scoville Hotel across the way served the passengers.



While the hotel had only five rooms, the bar quickly became extremely popular, and for almost fifty years was a thriving business, despite the pesky, but overlooked, ordinance that liquor could not be served within 200 feet of a post office. (The local post office was 165 feet away.)

The problems for the Scoville Hotel began after the turn of the century.

The issue was Success. Too much success.

In the early 1900s, the city of Torrington voted “no-license” – that is, the city passed a prohibition ordinance. No alcohol within the city limits.

And that brought the good and thirsty citizens of Torrington down to the Scoville Hotel – by the wagonful.

Within a week of Torrington going dry, Julius Scoville had added a twelve-foot extension on his bar, installed additional piping, and hired another bartender.

At the March 1903 renewal hearing for Scoville’s liquor license, the local residents complained of multiple cases of intoxication, indecent exposure, and a Thanksgiving evening brawl that required the sheriff to be summoned to handle the drunken mob. Witnesses warned that it was not safe for women to be on the street after dark, as the road between Torrington and East Litchfield was filled with strings of people, and the great noise, especially on Saturday nights, lasted until five in the morning.

Another hearing was held in July 1903. The citizens of East Litchfield were no happier.

They recounted that on Fast Day (ironically enough, a holiday in April designated for repentance and prayer) there was at one moment 268 people in the bar, and no less than 1,500 men had visited the saloon that day. They complained that folks were also visiting on Sundays. The clerk of the Superior court himself testified that on the Saturday just two weeks prior to the hearing, he had found a party of four or five “evidently Italians, making merry in his grove over a keg of beer.”

Well, that was intolerable.

Invoking the violation of the 200-foot proximity to the post office, the Scoville’s liquor license was rescinded.

The saloon – and the hotel – closed down.

And the good citizens of East Litchfield (and Torrington) had to make merry without the Scoville Hotel and Saloon.



scoville hotel

The Scoville Hotel. Open in 1852, closed in 1903, and finally destroyed by fire in 1918.



August is the perfect time for some East Litchfield Baseball!

Here’s our Team:

East Litchfield Baseball Team, 1918




Bottom Row:  Otto Iffland, Harold Iffland, Rosewell Scoville

Middle Row:  Martin Iffland, Steve Naser

Top Row:  Wallace Scoville, Clayton Miller, Peter Naser, Steve Lynch


(Janet Rebmann Healy Collection; thanks also to Eileen Schmidt)

East Litchfield Railway Depot

The Naugatuck Valley Railroad came to East Litchfield in 1849. The connection to the Naugatuck Railroad improved the potential as a tourist destination by providing the first direct passenger service to the town. The Scoville Hotel was conveniently located just a few yards away, and livery service was available to Litchfield village. In 1888, the station was taken over by the New York, New Haven and Hartford line.

The East Litchfield Village Improvement Society has access to many wonderful old photos and records of the station’s history, thanks to the Litchfield Historical Society and to Eileen Schmidt who has endeavored to collect period postcards and photos.

Here are just a few:



Postcard from 1908, perhaps take earlier. (Eileen Schmidt collection)


Looking north. The road on the left crossed the tracks and continued to the bridge over the Naugatuck River into Harwinton.



The house on the left is the Johnson house on Johnson Road. (Roger Plaskett collection.)


Standing by the depot with the hotel in the background. (Litchfield Historical Society collection)


Steam train at the station. (Litchfield Historical Society)


Bear Season

As we all know spring is here and so are the bears!  They have been around for a few weeks now as most of us can attest.  If you are like me you are not ready to stop feeding the birds.   If that is the case I highly recommend bringing in your feeders at night.  At the very least put just enough food in them so they are empty by evening.   Eventually the regulars will get wise to you and start “popping by” late morning when the feeder is nice an full.   Probably time to bring them in permanently at that point.   Happy Bear and Bird Watching