We visited Windham for today’s Destination Location! This town includes the former city of Willimantic, which merged with Windham in the 1980s.
The city was known for its thread mills and it’s home to the Thread City Crossing — better known as the Frog Bridge. The bridge has these 4 copper frogs sitting on spools of thread–but why the frogs?
It’s a local legend that one summer night during the French and Indian War, people in town heard an awful noise that they believed to be an impending attack. So they fired their muskets off into the darkness, but it turned out to be frogs trying to get to some water. This story has a sad ending; the frogs didn’t survive, but they are commemorated in lots of local traditions and art around Willimantic.
Windham and Willimantic have two different vibes but the whole town is known for loving its roots.
“Windham is the town, it’s the geographic municipality, it’s comprised of the Windhams, they’re more colonial bucolic, an older history,” says Jim Bellano, Director of Economic Development for the Town of Windham,” and Willimantic is a historic downtown, used to be its own city, its history is more manufacturing, Cictorian, the thread mills, so it’s got a little different take to it.”