Torrington Preservation Group has a new name, new board

TORRINGTON — With a new board in place, the non-profit Torrington Historic Preservation Trust also has a new name.

The name change to Preservation Torrington signals a reloading of the group’s missions, according to chairman Ed Cook, including getting Skee’s Diner back in shape and returning to the city.

The new moniker “states what we do in a simple way: to help promote and achieve the preservation of historically significant structures in the town of Torrington,” he said. “Our new name also helps clarify that we are a different organization from the Torrington Historical Society.”

Skee’s Diner is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered the best-preserved restaurant of its type in the country, Cook said.

“Our aim is to restore it and ultimately move it to a future site in Torrington town center where it will be reopened for business as part of an active and revitalized town centre,” he said. .

In April 2013, Preservation Torrington moved Skee’s Diner from its long-standing former location at the north end of Torrington, to a storage area at the south end of town. There, volunteers have spent the past nine years working on the building. The storage area has protected the restaurant and several key elements of the building have been restored, Cook said.

“We have already completely restored the steel frame of the restaurant, which was quite a project,” he said. “We do this kind of work. With (the pandemic) it was difficult to come together, but we are getting back on track now. That is our goal. We are about to launch a fundraising campaign to finish the year.

“Our ultimate goal has always been to restore it and put it back in the city center, as a working restaurant, and let people experience it,” Cook said. “It’s what people yearn for. It’s not just a museum piece, it’s something more. It’s going to be a big draw for downtown; a big asset.”

Cook, who is retired, has experience in home renovations and said historic preservation is his passion. “It’s time to reinvigorate the band,” he said of Preservation Torrington. “I was president when we moved Skee’s, then I got involved with Five Points Gallery, and I had to focus on that. Then I retired and wanted to get involved with Preservation Torrington again. .”

Besides Cook, the other newly elected leaders of Preservation Torrington are Thomas Ethier, vice-president; Mark McEachern, Secretary; and Rita Barredo, Treasurer.

Since its founding in 1981, the group has created four key historic districts, which are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Cook. Other projects and accomplishments include the annual preservation awards, which recognize homeowners and businesses, and the feasibility study for the redevelopment of the Hendey Machine Co. building, one of Torrington’s industrial sites. The group has also published surveys of many historic properties and has been a strong advocate for historic preservation in Torrington, he said.

“We’ll announce those prices in the spring, now that we’re back on schedule, in March or April,” Cook said.

New members are welcome, especially those interested in volunteering. To learn more about Preservation Torrington, visit

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