Plaque sponsored by David and Karen Warfield in honor of Edward J. Rogalski
Located on Chestnut Street at Willow Street
One upon a time in Norwich, Hopkins & Allen Gun Factory was the city’s largest employer. During the Civil War, Norwich provided more arms for the Union forces than any other city. As the nation’s largest armory, Hopkins & Allen was just one of many gun factories in Norwich.
It was a cold February 4, 1900 when the four-story brick building on this site caught fire. It was February, and so at six in the morning it was dark, and the streets were lighted by gas lamps. The fire was discovered by the night watchman, Joe Skelly. By the time the fire department arrived, it was too late to save the building, and Hopkins & Allen was destroyed in the biggest fire in the history of Norwich. It imposed a special hardship, for all of the gunsmiths’ tools were lost in the flames. Without those tools, the entire work force was unemployed.
A new 80,000 square foot Hopkins & Allen was built on the same site and rededicated in March of 1901. The 22 foot long, 60 foot wide, four-story building cost approximately $55,000.
Hopkins & Allen Arms Company, which began operations in 1868, continued in business until 1917. The World War I Armistice was given as the reason for going out of business.