Torrington. The “city in the hills”. The epicenter of Connecticut‘s Litchfield Hills region. A former mill town, this blue collar town has a lot to show for, and it’s all thanks to it’s historic mill town past. However, life has not always been perfect for Torrington. Once the mills left town and set up shop in cheaper states, or countries for that matter, there was deprivation in Torrington. An economic downturn occured and put a strain on the city. Ways of life were forever impacted…
Today, Torrington is in the middle of a rennisance, and is a future up and coming city. Without the blue collar locals and the energetic mayor Ryan Bingham, much of this cities rebirth wouldn’t have been possible. Events such as Main Street Marketplace which has been occuring every Thursday from 5-9PM this summer has brought with it much attention to the cities historic downtown which is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s art deco style welcomes tourists and locals alike to a city that prides itself in the arts. In fact, venues such as The Warner Theatre, The Nutmeg Ballet, and Studio 59 all call downtown Torrington home. However, it’s not until you look up that you notice the changes occuring rapidly around town.
Take a short drive up the long, often times harsh, east main street which is actually a rather steep drive from the base of Torrington. Once you arrive, you’ll find plenty of company to welcome you to Torringford,the cities east end. Here is where has all been happening, especially over the past ten years or so. As a kid, I have fond memories of visiting Torrington and I remember there being only a few places such as Walmart, Price Chopper, and Moscarillos. Today, those places are still there along with many, many others. A new Stop & Shop was recently constructed sitting directly across from the Walmart and Price Chopper plazza. Across the way from there, a former resteraunt, which I loved, was turned into Union Savings Bank. Torrington Savings Bank has also made it’s way up here as well as Walgreens. Today, a new sign was on display where the old abandoned Mobil gas station once sat. It read “Taco Bell Opening Soon”. Really? Another Taco Bell? For a city our size, under 40,000 to my belief, I don’t think we need another Taco Bell let alone another Stop & Shop, though I can see their point in bringing them up there since it is an often difficult task to drive up and down the mountain to get to those franchises that already have businesses close to the downtown.
Yes, the east end is expanding, and so now is Torrington. A thriving downtown is now seeming to be closer to reality thanks to folks like the
Milltown Collective who work hard to promote the city of Torrington as a city of the future. “06790” is our zip code, and it’s where I’m proud to call home. Despite all this development, we are still the country city to many folks. Torrington is pretty much out of the way nestled in Connecticut’s rural Litchfield Hills. Torrington has done a great job positioning itself to where it wants to go, and who it would like to become in the future. Maybe being so far out of the way, is a great thing. After all, were carving our own paths out here, not copycatting what others are doing. We are Torrington. We are the city of the future.
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Mike Valletta can be reached for comment at: NorthwestCTMike@aol.com