Heading up Hayden Station Road from Palisado Avenue, just past the railroad tracks, there is an empty bit of pavement on the right. It’s so nondescript that a driver might just think it’s a turnaround spot for lost travelers, if they register that it’s there at all. That tiny spot was once the site of the train depot for which the Hayden Station neighborhood takes its name.

Hayden Station train depot #2

Photo 1. The second depot built in 1875, next to Hayden Station Road. WHS collections 2000.30.100, courtesy of Julius Rusavage.

Originally the area was known as Haydens or Hayden Town, after the Hayden family who settled here starting in the 17th century. Trains first chugged through Windsor in 1844, and by 1855 at least, a station popped up in Haydens, according to a map from that year. We know of no images of this building nor why it was replaced, but in 1875, the New York, New Haven, and Hartford railroad company (NYNH&H) built another depot here (photo 1).

Hayden Station train depot #3

Photo 2. A view looking north, c.1910. Behind the depot is a horse shed. On the left are the Hayden Station Social Club and the home at 83 Hayden Station Rd., which are both still standing today. WHS collections 2018.34.2, gift of Shirley Taylor.

Accessibility to train travel changed the village in subtle ways. Farmers’ children could now take jobs in nearby towns or go shopping in Hartford. Neighborhood resident Grace Clapp wrote that city friends were welcomed into the country homes of Hayden Station, and soon “marriages outside of the old families frequently took place and so began a new social era.” Unfortunately, the simple yet elegant gable-roofed depot burned down in 1904. It was replaced by the hipped roof station seen in photos 2 and 3.

Hayden Station train depot #3

Photo 3. Station agent and the third depot, 1920s. WHS collections 1985.39.3, gift of Doris Brechtel.

The neighborhood enjoyed this connectivity to the wider region, but other modes of transportation steadily increased in availability and popularity. By 1951, NYNH&H had reduced their stops at Hayden Station to one southbound train in the morning and one northbound train in the evening, with an average of one passenger embarking and disembarking, before eliminating service there altogether.

By Michelle Tom, librarian/archivist, 2022 Changing streetscapes