The primarily agricultural town of Colchester,CT. began changing dramatically in 1847 when Nathaniel Hayward, owner of a small rubber shoe factory in Lisbon, built a rubber plant on Lebanon Avenue. The company produced rubber shoes and boots attracting nearly 1,000 people to the town to work as laborers in the factory. Mills, farms, retail stores, a bank and manufacturing plants soon opened in order to serve the growing community. Nathaniel Hayward was instrumental in the formation of a fire company in 1854 and was involved with the establishment of the Colchester Savings Bank.
In 1865 Nathaniel Hayward died, but the rubber company and the town continued to prosper. In 1893 The Colchester Rubber Company who had taken over the factory, was sold to the U.S. Rubber Company. Soon after the company closed permanently leaving 600 workers without jobs.