Legacy of Progress Gone Sour

The country's smallest urban renewal project destroyed historic Moodus village

By Ken Simon

In the 1960s, the old center of Moodus was shopworn, had limited parking, and sometimes smelled of sewage. A town committee was formed, consultants were hired and a plan was hatched to secure "free" federal urban renewal funds for redevelopment.

 

A public relations campaign to sell the project to residents was begun.

It was a successful campaign.

 

In 1967, East Haddam residents voted to destroy the heart of the Village of Moodus -- in pursuit of something more modern..

Despite rosy predictions of economic progress, it didn't work out so well.

How it started (top) and what we got (bottom) after a disastrous renewal project of Old Moodus Center.

Residents lost the historic village and gained an ugly and small aluminum shopping plaza. How the town came to this decision is the subject of an award-winning newspaper series first published in 1982 in the Lyme Gazette. The series was updated and published in 2016 in the East Haddam News.