PRIME TIME: King Street field honors Builder of Bristol, company leader

Published on Sunday, 14 May 2017 21:10
Written by Bob Montgomery

Staff Writer

Wilson Field has long been a part of sports and other activities held within the parcel of land it encompasses off King Street in Bristol, that between upper Fifth and Sixth Streets in Bristol. The field was named after Albert D. Wilson, whose biography is included in the on-going “Builders of Bristol” series, stories of those who made Bristol the city it was during their particular day.

This is the second segment of the two-part story on Wilson:

His positions of trust were distributed throughout the community. He was a director of the Bristol Bank and Trust Company, the Bristol Savings Bank, and Sessions Clock Company. Masonry meant a great deal to him and he was the youngest master, up to that time, of Franklin Lodge No. 56 and at the time of his death was the second oldest past living past master. He was a 32nd degree Mason and an active Shriner.

A photography bug, his first camera used glass plates. He was the proud owner of the first radio on Merriman Street and he amplified the sound from his porch for the neighbors’ enjoyment.

But his greatest love was in coaxing flowers and vegetables to grow from the rocky New England soil. In 1919 he bought five acres of heavily wooded land in Whigville to have a “Victory Garden.” Later, with his son-in-law, Dr. Frank M. Jerman, he cleared enough land to have a substantial garden devoted to some of the finest roses, snapdragons and dahlias in the area as well as more unusual crops such as peanuts, celery and broccoli.

When he died in 1951, Bristol recognized it had lost one of its finest citizens. The Bristol Brass donated land on King Street to the city and a park was dedicated to his memory. It was once used for Forestville Little League for several years and today hosts a basketball court. There was a building on the property, where sports and other activity items were stored.

Forty nine years is a long time to work for one company, particularly when a man’s rise through various positions over the years brings him in intimate contact with every phase of the business. From bookkeeping to buying, from manufacturing to merchandising, all helped develop a man who since 1935 guided this company through the trials of the last 15 years. His judgment, sense of humor, and his dignity, combined to win the affections of all who worked here, not matter his job.

The Bristol Press had a page one story on Jan. 18, 1951 on Albert and following are segments from it:

Albert D. Wilson, 73, of 209 Woodland St., died suddenly at his home this morning. Dr. Fred F. Tirella, medical examiner, said death was caused by a heart attack. He was born in Forestville, Feb. 5, 1877, the son of the late John C. and Caroline Beach Wilson.

He guided the company (Bristol Brass) through the first and second World Wars, and was instrumental in the large program building which took place at the end of the first World War and doubled the capacity of Bristol Brass. Also at the time, he took part in the organization of the King Terrace Realty Company, which provided housing for 75 families and was necessitated by the large increase in personnel, the homes being located on First through Sixth Streets. Some were single family dwellings, while others were two-story units for multiple families.

He left his wife, Cherrie Ward Wilson, and daughter, Mrs. Frank Jerman. The grandchildren were Albert, Charity and Marjorie.

Three a half decades later, Bristol Brass closed its doors. The Bristol Press began that page one story on Mar. 6, 1984 and it went, in part, something like this:

Perhaps the final chapter was written in the Bristol Brass story with the announcement from treasurer Philip Ludwig that Bristol Brass would cease production effective today. Ludwig’s statement, issued this noon, read, “The Bristol Brass Co. officials today have decided to cease production. A lack of adequate working capital as well as intense foreign competition were main factors in supporting this decision.

Layoffs last week reduced the bargaining unit to 41 workers. In its heyday, Bristol Brass employed up to 500 workers and at one time during World War I the work force reached 1,000.

Write to Bob Montgomery, ℅ The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808, or email: bmontgomery@bristolpress.com.



Posted in Newington Town Crier, Bristol, General News on Sunday, 14 May 2017 21:10. Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2017 21:12.