BETHEL – A recently demolished building at the intersection of Plumtrees and Rockwell roads had a historical connection to a popular board game.

Before it was a 2,880 square foot building, the demolished structure at 88 Plumtrees Road was a barn, as well as the site of a Scrabble factory.

The crossword puzzle was invented in the 1930s by an architect from Poughkeepsie, NY named Alfred Mosher Butts, whose idea came true thanks to Newtown resident and entrepreneur James Brunot.

After Brunot made small-scale Scrabble games in his carpentry shop in Newtown before moving his business to a former school in the Dodgingtown section in 1948.

With more and more orders, Brunot decided in the winter of 1952 to move the Scrabble factory to a larger red wooden barn at present-day 88 Plumtrees Road in Bethel.

About 24 people from Bethel, Danbury and Newtown were employed at the site, according to a 1953 article published in the Newtown Bee.

Business continued to thrive, but limitations in manufacturing facilities and problems importing cut and finished hardwood from Germany began to slow production.

It was then that Brunot decided to enter into a contract with Selchow and Righter for the game manufacturing company to take care of the marketing and distribution of Scrabble.

Selchow and Righter handled orders and supplied most of the Scrabble boxes and game boards, while the Bethel factory was responsible for numbering the tiles and manufacturing the luxury sets, dashboards and more. products.

It is not known when the Bethel plant ceased operations, but Brunot sold the Scrabble brand to Selchow & Righter in 1972, according to the current brand owner. Hasbro, Inc.

The building at 88 Plumtrees Road was home to various businesses after the days of its Scrabble factory – including a furniture stripping and finishing shop, as well as a daycare – but it had been unoccupied for several years.

It was demolished earlier this week to make way for a single-family home, which construction manager Chris Baldwin said the current owners plan to build on the existing footprint of the original foundation.

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