On September 7, 1693, in exchange for 10 pounds and a barrel of cider, a former Indian slave named Toby was given a tract of land that became much of present-day Beacon Falls. Included was the scenic valley north of town, where in 1876 the Naugatuck Railroad established High Rock Grove resort. Boating was popular at the dam, whose water powered the local woolen mill. As the popularity of men’s shawls declined, the need for rubber footwear grew. So in 1898, the woolen mill transformed into a rubber shoe factory that made Beacon Falls and its Top Notch brand household names. Success motivated the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company to hire the famed Olmsted Brothers in 1915 to create a planned neighborhood on the hill behind the factory. Beacon Falls also chronicles the story of the people—the farmers, the factory workers, the shopkeepers, the teachers, and most of all the families who built this community and have called Beacon Falls home.
Author Bio: Historian Mark Heiss and the Beacon Falls Historical Society collaborated to collect 200 rarely seen photographs, most of which have never before been published, to tell the story of Beacon Falls, the small town that truly is “Top Notch.”