Derby (WTNH) - Demolition leads to an unusual discovery in Derby. News Channel8 takes you underground to explore some newly uncoveredtunnels.
It's like walking back in time, into what was the basement ofthe first factory built in the city of Derby.
"Well, originally a copper mill was built here. Anson Phelps andSheldon Smith built it here, and by 1837 we believe that it was inoperation," explained David Carver, Derby Historical Society.
And it was powered by water that flowed through an aqueduct.Hardly anybody has seen the tunnel in decades.
"You know, we've had it on these old maps, but very rarely, oncein a while do we come across them in such pristine shape," saidMayor Anthony Staffieri (R-Derby).
The old maps show a very different city of Derby - a city builtaround factories that were powered by water. The water came downfrom Ansonia, along what now is the Pershing Drive area and down towhere Home Depot and the police station sit. And from the aqueduct,water flowed through massive turbines underneath the factory.
"It's called a reaction turbine. It reacts to the flow of thewater. Spins the wheel," Carver said.
Those wheels stayed under this building next to Route 34 untilthe building's roof partially collapsed last month. That's whendemolition began, demolition that uncovered the foundation, themachinery, and the aqueduct. But they are uncovered onlybriefly.
"This is sort of a fleeting glimpse of the past because this isall going to go away pretty much. It's going to have to go befilled in and we won't see it again," Carver said.
The bulldozers are covering it up, both for safety and forprogress. The city hopes to build a new downtown development on theland, so it will all be filled in and flattened.
The turbines were spared and now belong to the historicalsociety.
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