NORTH HAVEN — The Pratt & Whitney site once had baseball fields alongside the manufacturing plant, and images of workers running the bases are part of a new photo display in Town Hall.
Former Pratt employee Bill Richards donated aerial photos of the factory complex from 1962, photos of employees playing baseball in the 1950s and a commemorative employee photo from 1977, to the North Haven Historical Society earlier this year.
The town had prints of the historic photos professionally matted and framed for display in Town Hall. They were hung recently in the hallway leading to the second floor conference room.
Richards, who has lived in North Haven since 1955, started working at Pratt in 1972 in materials organization, back when the plant was a 24-hour operation producing airplane engines.
“We would even work (half-days) on holidays back in those days,” Richards said, adding that the plant sometimes employed several members of the same family.
Pratt began shuttering the plant in 2000 and completed the phased closing in 2002. Richards received the photos from another former employee, manager Robert Bishop, a member of the North Haven Aircraft Club associated with Pratt &Whitney.
“They were housecleaning,” Richards said.
Richards has kept the photos in his personal archive since. He happened to mention the photos to First Selectman Michael Freda at a summer concert on the green earlier this year.
The donation is significant now that the Pratt &Whitney buildings have been demolished. An Amazon distribution facility is planned for the site.
“It’s important to keep the history alive,” Freda said, “and it’s through Bill’s generosity, and through his recognition, that the pictures he found have significance here.”