From Dave Brigham:
After a long, traffic-clogged ride on Route 9 down the spine of south central Connecticut, my family and I pulled into the parking lot for the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat. As we did, I noticed a water tower off to the right, in front of the most impeccably kept abandoned buildings I've ever seen.
Given the "Dickinson's Witch Hazel" sign on the tower, though, I'm not sure if the tank once held water, or the curative potion that was once manufactured in the town of Essex.
Witch hazel seems like it should have gone the way of Alexander's Liver & Kidney Tonic and Iowna Brain & Nerve Tonic (actual historical products!). Native Americans discovered how to boil witch hazel stems and use the resulting potion to treat inflammation and tumors hundreds of years ago. Eventually, American colonists got hip to the hazel, and began making and selling the stuff. They still do.
For a decent history of the stuff, read this article.