top of page

The Dye House

A Little Building with a Big History

North Stonington was known far and wide for the vivid indigo blue yarns dyed here, and the beautiful plaid fabrics woven from it in homes throughout town.  It was the beginning of the Industrial Age...

Historic Dye House from the early 1800"s
Historic loom with Indigo plaids

After it was colored and dried, the yarn went to one of the town's three stores.  The Dudley Wheeler Store, the J H Browning Store, and the Ephriam Russel Wheeler Store acted as "middle-men", loaning the finished yarn to weavers in exchange for woven fabric, which they then sold.

In the early 1800's flax, wool and silk were produced in town and cotton was shipped in from the South.  They were spun in private homes, hence the term "cottage industry".   The resulting yarn was then sent to dye houses like ours for coloring. 


North Stonington was known for the nine different values of indigo that were produced here by a secret process using plant-based dyes.  Yarns were even brought to our dye house from other towns so they, too, could be dyed the famous North Stonington colors. 


Our Dye House showcases fiber craft - silk, wool, and cotton and the tools and dyes used to create cloth with them in the 1800's. 


A Spinning Wheel Dye Garden features Indigo, Madder and a host of other dye plants used in the 1800's in fabric, photography, and block printing.

Come Visit!

bottom of page