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April 18, 2012 Arts and Entertainment

Local Author Teams Up With Historical Society on New Book

The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series is Beacon Falls from local author Mark Heiss, with the Beacon Falls Historical Society. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories of days gone by.

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. The authors hope that the book will show “that even the smallest of towns can have a rich and fascinating history.”

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.”

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at or (888)-313-2665.

Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States.  Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places.  Have we done a book on your town?  Visit

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