The Old Stone Shop is the oldest and only remaining structure pertaining to the manufacture of pitchforks in Wallingford, its most important local industry. The village developed around a milling site on the Roaring Branch above its entry into Otter Creek. In 1835 Lyman Batcheller acquired a forge and trip-hammer shop, fed by waterpower diverted from the branch, and opened a pitchfork manufactory, using Sheffield steel shipped by wagon from Troy, New York. When the shop burned in 1848, it was considered so important to the local economy that it was rebuilt on the same location with donations of money and labor from the community. The result was this five-by-two bay building with massive limestone walls and slate roof. Rough granite blocks form lintels over an alternation of unusually large windows and double doors. Soon after its completion, the 1851 arrival of the Rutland and Bennington Railroad facilitated shipment to national markets, and the manufactory prospered. In 1866 it expanded into larger works on Otter Creek, and its success financed showy residential and commercial rebuilding in the village in the 1870s, largely by Batcheller-preferred Clinton G. Smith. Only polishing operations remained behind in the old shop. In 1902, the American Fork and Hoe Company of Cleveland, Ohio, acquired the Wallingford works, and in 1926, the company capitalized on the venerable character of the stone shop by converting it from production into a tearoom for the tourist trade. Now a store, it remains much in its original form and displays the forks and tools once made here.
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Old Stone Shop
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